Pirates tee off on Cubs for sweep
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Sunday, May 27, 2012, 5:00 p.m.
It took 47 games for the Pirates to hit their first three-run homer, and it led to an avalanche of runs.
Pedro Alvarez's towering shot in the first inning Sunday was the first of three homers by the Pirates, who trampled the hapless Chicago Cubs, 10-4, at PNC Park.
Andrew McCutchen hit a solo homer in the fifth, and Garrett Jones added a two-run shot in the sixth. The Pirates are 17-8 when they hit at least one home run and 8-2 when they launch two or more.
“We threw some power out there today,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It would be good to see us get a little more consistent with it.”
Alvarez's blast broke a string of 58 games by the Pirates without a three-run homer. The most recent to do it had been pitcher Ross Ohlendorf, who went deep Sept. 15, 2011, against Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Dana Eveland.
To uncover the previous three-run homer by a Pirates position player, reach back to Sept. 7, 2011, when McCutchen hit one against Houston. Overall, they hit just 13 three-run shots last season.
This year, the Pirates are on pace to finish with three three-run homers. Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals and A.J. Ellis of the Dodgers entered yesterday with two apiece.
“I was well aware of the fact we didn't have one until today,” Hurdle said. “Hopefully, they'll come in bunches. They make the offensive game pick up dramatically. Maybe this game will loosen them up.”
The Pirates completed their first series sweep this year and their first three-game sweep at PNC Park since Sept. 17-19, 2010, against Arizona. The Cubs have lost 12 in a row, their longest skid since dropping 14 in a row to open the 1997 season.
Left-hander Erik Bedard (3-5) worked six innings and allowed two hits. He won for the first time in four starts since May 3.
The Pirates did the bulk of their damage against righty Matt Garza (2-3), who allowed six runs (five earned) and seven hits in five innings.
Jose Tabata began the first inning with a single to center. Josh Harrison laid down a sacrifice bunt and wound up on second base when Garza's errant throw sailed up the line into foul territory.
McCutchen ripped a grounder to third baseman Joe Mather. Tabata broke on contact and was an easy out at home; Harrison held at second.
That brought up Alvarez, who went into the game on a 9-for-62 (.145) slide in his previous 18 games. Garza fell behind, 3-1, and tried to sneak in a changeup. The ball flew over the Clemente Wall and landed about a half-dozen rows up in the right field seats.
“I was just ready to hit,” Alvarez said. “I was not sitting on a pitch.”
In the sixth, Gorkys Hernandez had a two-run single — his first hit and RBI in the majors. He had replaced Tabata, who left with cramping in his left leg.
“He threw me a fastball, and I missed it,” Hernandez said. “He threw me another one, right down the middle, and I got it.”
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Wandy Rodriguez experiencing decline in fastball velocity
- Previewing Wednesday’s Pirates-Reds game
- Pirates conclude wild suspended game with win, drop 2nd of series
- Bad weather halts homer-filled game between Reds, Pirates
- Pirates swept in Milwaukee, fall to .500 heading into Cincinnati
- Polanco off to red-hot start at Triple-A Indianapolis