Found August 29, 2012 on Fox Sports Midwest:
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pedro Alvarez stayed hot, blasting his 26th homer of the season and driving in three runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates rolled to a 5-0 victory over St. Louis on Wednesday night. The third baseman -- who hit two homers on Tuesday -- continued his season-long dominance of the Cardinals. His three-run shot in the third gave him seven home runs and 23 RBI in 15 games against St. Louis this year as Pittsburgh moved within one game of the NL's second wild card spot. Wandy Rodriguez (9-13) worked six tidy innings for Pittsburgh to pick up his first victory as a starter since being acquired in a trade last month. Rodriguez walked three and struck out three while helping the Pirates shut out the Cardinals for the second straight night. Joe Kelly (4-6) battled control problems during five rocky innings, giving up five runs on eight hits. The victory helped the Pirates take the season series from St. Louis 8-7, not an insignificant number with both teams battling for a postseason berth. If the two clubs are tied for the second wild card spot at the end of the regular season, the Pirates would have host the play-in game. There's still a long way to go before the first week of October, particularly for Pittsburgh. Still, the Pirates will head into September still in the mix, something they haven't done in 20 years. Pittsburgh appeared to be teetering on the edge of collapse following a 4-3 loss on Monday that dropped the Pirates three games back. They responded with a pair of convincing wins being the streaky Alvarez. The former first-round pick has finally developed into the lineup-anchoring power hitter the team envisioned when it drafted him four years ago. He's certainly feasted on St. Louis pitching this season, going 23-for-58 (.396). He gave Rodriguez all the offense necessary in the third. Coming to the plate with two on and two out, Alvarez drilled an 82 mph curveball from Kelly into the right field seats. The ball left the park so quickly Alvarez barely had time to break into his home run trot before it landed. The blast gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead and Alvarez made it 5-0 in the fifth when he doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Josh Harrison. Rodriguez took advantage of the cushion. He came in 0-4 as a starter with the Pirates after being acquired from Houston on July 24. His only victory came in two relief innings during Pittsburgh's 19-inning victory in St. Louis on Aug. 19. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle blamed part of Rodriguez's problems on the pressure of trying to validate the trade. Hurdle urged the veteran lefthander to relax, and Rodriguez looked at ease playing with a sizable lead for the first time as a Pirate. The Cardinals managed just three paltry singles and never got a runner to third. The Cardinals played without catcher Yadier Molina, who sat out as a precaution following a brutal collision at home with Harrison on Tuesday night. Molina suffered neck, shoulder and arm soreness after Harrison crashed into him trying to score from second. Tony Cruz started in Molina's place and had two of St. Louis' five hits, but the Cardinals failed to muster any offense as their scoreless streak reached 21 innings. NOTES: Pittsburgh 2B Neil Walker missed his third straight game with a stiff back. Walker said he's starting to feel better but still has no timetable on a possible return. ... The Cardinals begin a four-game series in Washington on Thursday. Jaime Garcia (7-9, 3.72 ERA) takes on Washington's Edwin Jackson (7-9, 3.72) in the opener ... Pittsburgh is off Thursday and travels to Milwaukee for a weekend series on Friday. Jeff Karstens (5-3, 3.47) faces Milwaukee's Mark Rogers (2-1, 4.28) in the first game.

First Pitch: An Alvarez Hot Streak Would Be Great Right Now

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year about Pedro Alvarez, it’s that he doesn’t just have one good game. He’s been a very streaky player, and in most cases when he has a big game, it is usually the start of a nice hot streak. We saw this in mid-April. Alvarez snapped out of a 1-for-24 start to the season by going 1-for-3 with a homer on April 18th. From then until...

Maturing Alvarez fueling Pittsburgh's playoff push

Pedro Alvarez can't explain why he's so streaky. When the Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman is hot, however, he has the ability to carry a team. It's what he did during a pair of shutout wins over St. Louis on Tuesday and Wednesday, hitting three homers and driving in seven runs as the Pirates pulled within one game of the Cardinals for the NL's second wild card spot...

Giving Pedro Alvarez's huge night some context

Pedro Alvarez had 11 total bases last night. Just how many total bases is 11 total bases? Pedro Alvarez entered last night with 116 games and 448 plate appearances under his belt. He was hitting .240/.321/.462. After last night, Alvarez's season line bumped up to .247/.327/.484. That's an OPS jump from .783 to .811 after 116 games. The .800 OPS point is an arbitrary distinction...

Pirates Notebook: Alvarez Locked in at the Plate; McDonald Needs to Seek Greatness

When Pedro Alvarez is locked in at the plate, watch out. That was no more evident than on Tuesday night at PNC Park. Alvarez had a four hit night, but it was two huge swings of the bat that dropped jaws. “I shared with him after his last at-bat where he struck out, I said, ‘Look. All you got to do is hit two homers, get four hits, and they’ll clap for you when you strike out...

Pirates come up big again

 The Pirates got another big night from Pedro Alvarez and their starting pitcher as they posted their second straight shutout win over the Cardinals on Wednesday night. The win gives the Bucs the season series over St. Louis (meaning they’d have an advantage if the two teams end up tied) and puts them just one game out of a playoff spot. I can’t overstate what these two wins...

Alvarez HRs help Pirates crush Cards

Josh Harrison provided the pop. Pedro Alvarez provided the power. The reeling Pittsburgh Pirates eagerly accepted both. Alvarez homered twice and drove in four runs after Harrison barreled into St. Louis catcher Jadier Molina and the Pirates rolled to a 9-0 victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday night. While Alvarez crushed his 24th and 25th home runs of the season, it was Harrison...

Pirates 9, Cardinals 0

Pedro Alvarez homered twice and drove in four runs, James McDonald scattered two hits over seven innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates beats the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 on Tuesday night. Alvarez hit a two-run homer in the third to give the Pirates a comfortable lead, added an RBI double in the fourth then hit a 469-foot blast to center in the sixth. He went 4 for 5 as Pittsburgh drew...

Cardinals take tough loss to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pedro Alvarez homered twice and drove in four runs, James McDonald scattered two hits over seven innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates beats the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 on Tuesday night. Alvarez hit a two-run homer in the third to give the Pirates a comfortable lead, added an RBI double in the fourth then hit a 469-foot blast to center in the sixth. He went 4 for...

Cardinals flattened by Pirates once again

On Wednesday, St. Louis was shut out for the second night in a row and lost their second series to Pittsburgh in two weeks. Pedro Alvarez did more damage alone than the entire slumping Cardinals offense.

Pirates Notebook: Pitching Blanks Cardinals; Weekend Rotation Set

The Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff shined at PNC Park on Wednesday night. Wandy Rodriguez and the bullpen blanked St. Louis, which extended their consecutive scoreless streak to 21 frames. Not since the sixth inning of Monday night’s loss had the Cardinals plated a run off Pittsburgh’s arms. The feat was impressive considering the Cardinals entered game action on Wednesday...

Game 130: Pirates 5 Cardinals 0

I know that I occasionally lean on the "this is my life as an out-of-Pittsburgh Pirate fan in 2012" anecdotes a little heavily, but I'm kicking this recap off with one tonight. Despite my Debbie Downer routine earlier this week, I was pretty legitimately excited about the biggest Pirate game of 2012 being televised on ESPN. There wasn't any particular reason for...

“That’s easy, bro”; Wandy shuts down Cardinals

Wandy Rodriguez finally got his first Pirates win as a starter, and the Pirates scored a few runs in support.  A 5-0 win gave the Pirates the series win and season series win over the Cardinals. All Wandy Rodriguez did was throw 6 shutout innings.  Only in the 3rd inning did Wandy allow more than [...]

Pedro, JMac, lead Pirates to 9-0 win

The Pirates needed a win tonight.  They needed James McDonald to step up, and they needed the offense to step up.  Both sides took that seriously.  JMac pitched 7 shutout innings, and the Pirates’ 9 runs were highlighted by Pedro Alvarez’s 2 homeruns. JMac simply shut down the Cardinals lineup tonight.  He gave up just [...]
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