Pirates sweep Reds; No homers for Alvarez
CINCINNATI — Pedro Alvarez knows home runs.
Alvarez clubbed 36 homers this season, the most by a Pirate since Brian Giles hit 38 in 2002. Alvarez has hit a blast into the Allegheny River. He's launched line drives that climbed center field batter's eyes. He's smacked everything from a solo shot to a grand slam.
Alvarez did not go deep in the Pirates' 4-2 victory Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds, which cost him a chance to claim sole possession of the National League home run crown. But he was able to crack a smile when teammate Jordy Mercer rumbled for an inside-the-park home run.
“He got the run across, right? That's all that matters,” Alvarez said. “It's good.”
Because the regular-season finale against the Reds had no bearing on playoff positioning — the Pirates had already clinched home field for the wild-card game — manager Clint Hurdle rested all of his everyday players except Alvarez.
“I wanted to give him the opportunity to finish an accomplishment that would be special,” Hurdle said. “A couple more swings of the bat to see if he hits a homer.”
Heading into the game, Alvarez and the Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt were tied for the NL home run lead. Goldschmidt also failed to homer Sunday.
“I wasn't worried about that at all,” Alvarez said. “My focus is to help this team get as far as we want to go. We're playing some pretty good baseball, and I want to keep it going.”
Against Reds right-hander Greg Reynolds (1-3), Alvarez did not hit a ball out of the infield. He walked, was hit by a pitch and popped out to shortstop.
Although Alvarez was shut out, the Pirates did collect two homers, including Mercer's inside-the-park trip around the bases. Garrett Jones went a more conventional route, launching a ball into the right-center field seats in the eighth inning.
Leading off the second inning, Mercer put an excuse-me swing on a 79 mph curveball. He hit a low line drive to right field.
“He got me off balance a little bit, but I was able to get some barrel on it,” Mercer said. “I didn't think (outfielder Jay Bruce) was going to dive for it, but he did.”
The ball skipped past Bruce and rolled to the wall. It took a while for center fielder Shin-Soo Choo to track down the ball, so third base coach Nick Leyva kept windmilling his arm.
“I knew I had a triple,” Mercer said. “But Nick just kept waving me, so I just kept going. He told me he wasn't going to stop me, anyway.”
Mercer scored with a slide, although the Reds never relayed the ball to the plate.
Righty Brandon Cumpton started in place of Gerrit Cole, who was scratched so he can be a reserve pitcher in Tuesday's wild-card game.
Cumpton (2-1) worked five innings and blanked the Reds on two hits. He walked one and struck out three.
Reds manager Dusty Baker started his regulars, but yanked Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier after the fourth inning, when it began to drizzle at Great American Ball Park.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
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.
- Home price gains slow for 6th-straight month
- Starkey: Would one big move kill Pirates’ future?
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- Liriano, Pirates beat Giants, inch closer to lead in NL Central
- Tech giants lead rush for profits in foreign countries
- Pirates inquire about Red Sox LHP Lester
- Law enforcement, intelligence agencies want to ‘like’ you on social media
- Development plan helps Riverhounds Academy girls U15 team become national champs
- Rivers Casino sued by family of patron who died in car crash
- Dying trees removed from Ford City park
- Consent decree that limits weddings at Foxley Farms ruled valid