Pair of homers from Alvarez earn Pirates a 9-5 win against Cleveland Indians
June 17, 2012 8:15 PM
Tony Dejak/Associated Press
The Pirates' Pedro Alvarez, center, is congratulated by teammates Garrett Jones, left, and Casey McGehee after hitting a three-run home run off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez in the fourth inning.
Tony Dejak/Associated Press
The Pirates' Pedro Alvarez watches his ball after hitting a three-run home run off Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Esmil Rogers in the fifth inning.
By Bill Brink Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
CLEVELAND -- Much like a golfer shaping his ball around a dogleg, Pedro Alvarez found a ball flight pattern he liked during the Pirates' series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
Alvarez hit two more home runs Sunday afternoon, bringing his total for the series to four. Three of them were line drives into the seats in right field.
Three errors by Asdrubal Cabrera helped the Pirates' offense, but Alvarez's six RBIs gave the Pirates a 9-5 win Sunday.
Alvarez had not homered in 19 days before he hit two Saturday. The two on Sunday, which came in consecutive at-bats, gave him 12 on the season, tripling his total from 2011.
In the fourth inning, he hit a 1-0 pitch from Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez into the seats, scoring Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee. In the fifth, he curled a low line drive around the foul pole.
To shake things up, he doubled off the left-field wall in the seventh, giving him a career-high three extra-base hits.
Alex Presley also homered for the second day in a row, giving him five on the season.
The offense overshadowed a third rocky start in a row from Brad Lincoln, who allowed four runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. General manager Neal Huntington said before the game that the Pirates planned to keep Lincoln in the rotation until Jeff Karstens returns, which means Lincoln will make at least one and possibly two more starts. He has not finished five innings in any of his past three starts and allowed at least four runs in each of them.
Jason Kipnis hit a 2-2 fastball for his 11th home run of the season in the first inning, giving Cleveland the early lead.
In the second, Johnny Damon singled and stole second before Casey Kotchman grounded to the right side. Neil Walker, playing in shallow right field as part of a defensive shift, reached the ball, but couldn't handle it, and Damon scored to make the score 2-0.
In the fourth, a two-out error extended the inning and allowed the Pirates to take the lead. Jones reached on a force-out. McGehee grounded to short, but Cabrera threw wide of first, putting runners on second and third before Alvarez's first home run.
The Indians recaptured the lead in the fourth. A double and a walk brought Shin-Soo Choo to the plate with two men on, and Choo hit Lincoln's first offering over Presley's head to the wall in left field, scoring two runs and giving the Indians a 4-3 lead.
Presley homered with one out in the fifth. Walker walked, and Andrew McCutchen doubled, putting men on second and third. With first base open, Gomez walked Jones to load the bases.
McGehee grounded to short, but Cabrera bobbled the ball, allowing Walker to score. McCutchen scored on a subsequent Cabrera throwing error, leaving two men on base.
Indians manager Manny Acta brought in Esmil Rodgers to face Alvarez, who crushed his second home run of the day.