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St. Louis at Pittsburgh

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St. Louis (2-2)000020000261
Pittsburgh (3-1) «01020315x12160

Alvarez, Pirates bust out against Cardinals in rematch

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Alvarez mashed two home runs that traveled an estimated 831 feet Friday night.

It was a series of sprints by the burly Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman, however, that ignited a 12-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Alvarez broke open a close game in the sixth by beating out a potential double play, followed it up with the fifth stolen base of his career then scored with a deft slide around St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina's tag that gave the Pirates the momentum they needed to pull away.

"I thought the stolen base was key," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He puts a lot of focus on running the bases and he's arguably one of our best baserunners when he's on."

It certainly looked like it, as Alvarez's outstretched left arm slid across the plate a split second before one of the game's best defensive catchers could nab him. The Cardinals imploded from there as Shelby Miller (0-1) continued to struggle against Pittsburgh.

Miller fell to 0-5 with a 5.92 ERA against the Pirates in his brief career after tying a career-high by allowing five runs in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander is 16-5 with a 2.34 ERA in his 33 other major-league appearances.

"It's not the park. It's not the team. I just pitched poorly today," Miller said. "I guess it just lines up that way where I don't pitch well when I face them."

Travis Ishikawa added his first major-league home run in nearly two years for Pittsburgh. Gerrit Cole (1-0) gave up two runs in seven innings in his first start since losing the deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series to St. Louis last October.

Six months removed from a taut NLDS that pushed the eventual NL champions to the brink of elimination, the Pirates sent an early message they have no plans of going away.

Cole is considered the ace in waiting after a stellar rookie season in which he was arguably Pittsburgh's best pitcher over the final six weeks. Eager to take the next step in his development, the 23-year-old kept the Cardinals in check by mixing a fastball that consistently reaches the upper 90s with improved offspeed stuff.

He also showcased some of his maturity, working out of a bases loaded situation in the fourth by getting Jhonny Peralta to fly out. His only mistake came in the fifth when Carpenter drilled a shot into the right field stands to pull the Cardinals to 3-2. Otherwise he teamed with catcher Russell Martin to keep St. Louis in check.

"I think it was just a really well-played ballgame on our part," Cole said. "I can't say enough about what Russ did behind the plate. Not sure there are any other catchers in the entire world that could handle what I threw at him tonight."

Pittsburgh's offense -- which mustered all of 20 hits in 35 innings of a season-opening series against the Chicago Cubs -- made sure it didn't stay close for long after pounding out 16 hits in eight innings against the NL Central favorites.

Alvarez began the year in a 1 for 15 slump but ended that with a home run to the gap in left-center for his first home run of the season. He added his second two innings later with a long drive to right-center that traveled an estimated 448 feet.

His hustle down the first-base line in the sixth allowed Pittsburgh's rally to continue and the Pirates pressed the advantage. Molina committed a rare error after Alvarez's slide, botching a potential rundown at third base when his throw hit Martin in the back and rolled into the stands. The miscue gave the Pirates a 5-2 lead and Pittsburgh poured it on in the late innings.

Notes

Ishikawa's solo home run in the fourth was his first since May 15, 2012 while playing for the New York Yankees. ... The start of the game was delayed 1:05 by rain, the third straight game a Cardinals' game was delayed by weather. ... Injured Cardinals 2B Mark Ellis is starting baseball activities but it remains uncertain when he'll be ready to return from left knee tendinitis. Ellis went on the 15-day DL on March 27 and is eligible to return on April 11. ... The series continues on Saturday. RHP Joe Kelly will make his season debut for the Cardinals against Pittsburgh's Francisco Liriano (0-0, 0.00).

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Pedro Alvarez connects for two home runs and the Pirates beat the team that ended their season in the NLDS.  (Getty Images)
Pedro Alvarez connects for two home runs and the Pirates beat the team that ended their season in the NLDS. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

P. Alvarez
AB 4
R 3
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
St. Louis

M. Carpenter
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Matt Carpenter, 3B3122100 .286
   a-Pete Kozma, PH1000002 .000
Kolten Wong, 2B4010011 .308
Matt Holliday, LF4020021 .250
Allen Craig, RF4000004 .125
Yadier Molina, C4000002 .188
   Keith Butler, P0000000 .000
Matt Adams, 1B2000100 .357
   b-Shane Robinson, PH0000100 .000
Jhonny Peralta, SS3000013 .071
   Seth Maness, P0000000 .000
   Tony Cruz, C0000100 .000
Peter Bourjos, CF4000012 .000
Shelby Miller, P2110000 .500
   Randy Choate, P0000000 .000
   Daniel Descalso, SS2000001 .000
Totals3326245  
a-grounded out for M. Carpenter in the 9th
b-walked for Adams in the 9th
Batting
HR - Matt Carpenter (1, Cole)
RBI - Matt Carpenter 2 (2)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Peralta, Peralta-Peralta-Adams, Peralta-Peralta-Adams-Wong-Descalso-Adams, Peralta-Peralta-Adams-Wong-Descalso-Adams-Maness-Adams
E - Yadier Molina (1, Throwing)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Shelby Miller (L,0-1) 5.1655323 8.44
Randy Choate 0111000 9.00
Seth Maness 1.2411100 5.40
Keith Butler 1555010 45.00
IBB - Alvarez by Seth Maness
HBP - Mercer (by Seth Maness)
Pitches-Strikes - Shelby Miller 97-60, Randy Choate 4-2, Seth Maness 35-20, Keith Butler 28-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shelby Miller 5-7, Seth Maness 2-1, Keith Butler 2-0
Batters Faced - Shelby Miller 23, Randy Choate 1, Seth Maness 9, Keith Butler 8
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starling Marte, LF-CF4130100 .353
Travis Snider, RF4221100 .267
Andrew McCutchen, CF5122003 .200
   Justin Wilson, P0000000 .000
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4323101 .158
Russell Martin, C4122110 .214
Neil Walker, 2B4110004 .235
Travis Ishikawa, 1B2111000 .300
   a-Gaby Sanchez, PH-1B2011010 .500
Jordy Mercer, SS3110000 .214
Gerrit Cole, P3000011 .000
   Bryan Morris, P0000000 .000
   b-Jose Tabata, PH-LF1111000 .333
Totals3612161143  
a-singled for Ishikawa in the 6th
b-doubled for Morris in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jose Tabata (1, Butler)
3B - Starling Marte (1, Miller), Andrew McCutchen (1, Butler)
HR - Pedro Alvarez 2 (2, Miller), Travis Ishikawa (1, Miller)
RBI - Travis Snider (1), Andrew McCutchen 2 (2), Pedro Alvarez 3 (3), Russell Martin 2 (2), Travis Ishikawa (1), Gaby Sanchez (1), Jose Tabata (1)
2-OUT RBI - Travis Ishikawa (1)
SB - Pedro Alvarez (1, 2nd base off Miller/Molina), Neil Walker (1, 3rd base off Maness/Molina)
Team LOB - 5
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Gerrit Cole (W,1-0) 7622231 2.57
Bryan Morris 1000010 0.00
Justin Wilson 1000210 0.00
WP - Gerrit Cole (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Gerrit Cole 108-73, Bryan Morris 13-10, Justin Wilson 28-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gerrit Cole 13-5, Bryan Morris 2-0, Justin Wilson 2-0
Batters Faced - Gerrit Cole 29, Bryan Morris 3, Justin Wilson 5
Game Information
Attendance - 23342
Game Time - 3:07
Temperature - 61
Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - David Rackley