Alvarez stays hot, Liriano sharp in Pirates' 6-1 win over Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Once again, Pedro Alvarez was the Pirates' sparkplug.
Saturday, for the second game in a row, Alvarez got things started with a home run in the second inning. The offense then revved it up and gave plenty of support to lefty Francisco Liriano, who handcuffed the Los Angeles Angels in a 6-1 victory.
“Pedro is flat-out hot,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanche also hit solo homers. The Pirates banged out 10 hits, five of them for extra bases.
“We had a lot of fun,” McCutchen said. “We don't have to depend on one or two guys. Everybody's coming through.”
Leading off the second, Alvarez launched a 1-1 pitch from right-hander Jerome Williams (5-3) down the right field line. It was Alvarez's 18th homer of the season and extended his hitting streak to seven games.
Gaby Sanchez and Neil Walker singled. Travis Snider reached on a fielder's choice, with Walker out at second.
Jordy Mercer hit an RBI single to left. Starling Marte hit a chopper toward third base, which Alberto Callaspo booted for an error. Russell Martin's bases-loaded walk made the score 3-0.
Neil Walker began the fourth with a double to center. He scored on Snider's single.
Liriano (6-3) struck out four of the first five batters he faced. Things did not go quite so smoothly in the fourth inning, though.
With one out, Howie Kendrick doubled. Callaspo reached on an infield single. Erick Aybar lined a single to left field. Starling Marte snagged the ball on the hop and fired a laser. Martin caught the ball, blocked the plate and tagged out Kendrick.
Liriano then walked Chris Iannetta, loading the bases, but got J.B. Shuck on a checked-swing strikeout to kill the threat.
McCutchen hit a solo shot in the fifth inning to make it 5-0. Sanchez clanged a homer off the left field foul pole in the eighth.
Liriano snapped a personal four-decision losing streak against the Angels that began in April 2012 when he pitched for the Minnesota Twins.
“Whatever happened in the past, there's nothing I can do about it,” Liriano said. “I'm moving forward and trying to learn from my mistakes. That's what I tried to do tonight.”
On Saturday, Liriano worked 6 2⁄3 innings and allowed one run on seven hits. He walked three and struck out six.