Pedro Alvarez homered into the Allegheny River Saturday night, and the Pirates stayed perched atop all of baseball with a 50th win of the season.
Alvarez launched a fastball out of PNC Park on a 1-2 pitch that went 445 feet, and landed in a tree before plunking into the river in the second inning.
Garrett Jones hit another solo homer off Donovan Hand to the shrubbery in centerfield to lead off the fourth inning, and it was all the offense the Pirates really needed in a 2-1 win against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The win keeps Pittsburgh in first place in the National League Central Division with the best record in baseball, 50-30.
Francisco Liriano had a strong outing on the mound. He went six innings, gave up one earned run on seven hits, and struck out six to collect his seventh win of the season (7-3).
Jason Grilli earned the save by retiring the Brewers in order in the ninth.
After a quiet first inning, Alvarez came to the plate in the second with one out. The homerun was the 20th for Alvarez this season, and upped his hitting streak to 12 games.
The Pirates best scoring chance after that came in the third inning when Sterling Marte's double put two in scoring position.
But Russell Martin hit into a fielder's choice and Andrew McCutchen flew out to center on an 85-mile an hour slider.
The Brewers threatened in the fourth when Carlos Gomez tripled to the gap in left to open the inning.
Liriano struck out Aramis Ramirez and Neil Walker threw out Gomez at the plate to end the inning.
The Brewers got on board in the sixth inning when Yuniesky Betancourt singled in Carlos Gomez.
Liriano gave up a walk and a hit to open the game, conjuring images of Gerrit Cole's start on Friday. But he ended the inning quickly by striking out Gomez and getting Aramis Ramirez to hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Hand had a very efficient first inning, getting three outs on just nine pitches.
Marte flew out to center on two pitches, threw Russell Martin battled through five pitches before he singled to shallow right, then McCutchen to hit into a double play to end the inning on two pitches.
In all, Hand went five innings, giving up two runs on five hits, including the two home runs.
NOTES: Saturday marked the fifth straight sellout at PNC Park, with an announced attendance of 38,438. It is the first time PNC Park has had five straight sellouts.
First Published June 30, 2013 2:00 AM