Rodriguez, Pirates shut out Cardinals again
By Karen Price
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, 10:04 p.m.
Don't tell the St. Louis Cardinals that Pedro Alvarez is an on-again, off-again hitter.
There's been no such thing as “off” for the Pirates' third baseman against the Cardinals this year, and he hurt them again Wednesday with a three-run home run in the third inning at PNC Park.
Combined with a shutdown performance by left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (9-13), the Pirates beat the Cardinals, 5-0, and took the season series from them for the first time since 2008.
Alvarez finished the season 23 for 58 (.396) with seven home runs and 23 RBI in 15 games against the Cardinals.
In a series that could have major implications in the National League wild-card race, the Pirates won back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 16-17. The win was just their fourth in the past 11 games and came in front of a crowd of 19,398.
Garrett Jones drove in the first run with an RBI double off Joe Kelly (4-6) in the first inning, and Alvarez hit his 26th home run of the season to make the score 4-0. All four runs scored with two outs, a situation in which the Pirates couldn't manufacture a run just a few days ago.
Alvarez doubled in the fifth and scored — again with two outs — on a run-scoring single by Josh Harrison.
The night before, Alvarez hit two home runs, including a 469-foot shot that was the longest by a Pirates player at PNC Park.
“They're a great team, and they demand your full concentration. Just going out there trying to compete. It's just one of those things,” Alvarez said of his dominance of the Cardinals this year.
Garrett Jones had a different take.
“He's a Cardinal killer, for sure,” Jones said. “It's fun to watch how far he can hit the ball, and he's getting big three-run home runs and go-ahead home runs. Whenever you can get a guy that can do that and put a team farther in the lead, it takes the pressure off the rest of the team.”
The Pirates didn't just beat the Cardinals but shut them down for the second game in a row. The team with the highest batting average in the NL scored its last run against the Pirates in the sixth inning of Monday night's series opener.
“I've told you all along we're not a perfect club,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We've got some holes. But the big picture, these guys believe they can win every night they take the field, and for us to respond the way we did, I'm proud of the effort. … The last two night's results are what we're looking for.”
Rodriguez accounted for six of Wednesday's scoreless innings, giving up three hits and three walks. He struck out three. The performance earned him his first win as a starter since joining the Pirates just prior to the trade deadline. He earned a win over St. Louis on Aug. 19, but it came in a two-inning relief appearance in a game that lasted 19 innings.
“It feels great,” Rodriguez said. “I come here to help this team, so when I win it feels good.”
Tony Watson, Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
The Pirates will have the day off Thursday before opening a weekend series in Milwaukee.
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7980 or email@example.com.
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 should exploit free-swinging Brewers
- Pirates notebook: Tabata OK’d to return to play
- Patience pays off as starting pitcher Volquez gets 1st win for Pirates
- Pirates notebook: Walker’s razor a right-handed swing solution
- Breaking down Thursday’s Pirates-Brewers game
- Pirates swept in Milwaukee, fall to .500 heading into Cincinnati
- One-time Bucs pitching prospect now a promising power hitter
- Pirates notebook: Rivalry with Reds resumes
- Polanco off to red-hot start at Triple-A Indianapolis
- Cueto gets best of Pirates, as Reds capture series from rival
- Breaking down Sunday’s Pirates-Brewers game