Pirates top Cardinals, 5-2, on Davis' homer; Alvarez, McCutchen hurt
Ike Davis understands why he has lost playing time to Pedro Alvarez.
“Petey hit something like five home runs in two days,” Davis said with a smile. “He deserves to play. You can't really argue with that.”
In a tense eighth inning Tuesday, Davis made a case that maybe he has earned another look. He smacked a pinch-hit, three-run, homer that lifted the Pirates to a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen left the game early with injuries.
McCutchen departed in the sixth inning after he aggravated the left rib injury that put him on the disabled list from Aug. 4-19.
“I'm not 100 percent,” McCutchen said. “I don't want to push it and make it worse. I'm not fully healed, so there are going to be days when I'm a little more sore. Today, I was more sore. It didn't help when I jumped into that wall.”
With two outs in the third inning, Matt Carpenter hit a fly ball to deep center field. McCutchen caught it, then slammed his back into the outfield wall. McCutchen doubled over for a long moment, then slowly jogged to the dugout.
McCutchen said he expects to play Wednesday when the Pirates and Cardinals wrap up their three-game series at PNC Park.
Alvarez started at first base and was replaced by Gaby Sanchez to start the top of the seventh. Alvarez left with what manager Clint Hurdle described as a sprain between two of Alvarez's toes.
If Alvarez needs down time, Davis could get more at-bats. Davis has not started a game since Aug. 19, but he doesn't seem fazed by his backup status.
“I'm fine,” Davis said. “You kind of get immune to stuff after a while. It's kind of been my career — starting, not starting — so I'm used to it.”
Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole had a close call in the fifth inning when Oscar Tavares' liner smacked off his right ankle. The ball caromed to second baseman Neil Walker, who threw out Tavares. Cole stayed in the game but wasn't quite as effective. Kolten Wong broke up Cole's no-hit bid with a two-out double in the sixth.
After yielding Matt Adams' double and Jhonny Peralta's single to open the seventh, Cole was replaced by lefty Tony Watson. Cole allowed two runs, three hits and a walk. He struck out nine.
“I felt good. I just wish I was more efficient,” said Cole, who threw 108 pitches in six-plus innings. “I was out of bullets there toward the end.”
Watson (9-1) could not hold the 2-0 lead in the seventh. Jon Jay's sacrifice fly scored Adams. Back-to-back singles by Tavares and pinch hitter Randal Grichuk tied the game 2-2.
In the eighth, Sanchez and Starling Marte singled off Seth Maness (5-3). With two outs, Davis yanked a changeup over the wall in right center field.
“He left the changeup a little higher than he wanted, and I hit it pretty well,” Davis said. “I knew right away (it was out).”
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Walker drew a leadoff walk, then went to third on Russell Martin' single.
Alvarez struck out looking at a fastball from starter Lance Lynn. Marte was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Clint Barmes' bouncer to third was too slow for the Cardinals to turn a double play. Barmes beat the throw to first base, and Walker scored.
Harrison led off the fifth with his 12th home run, which landed in the left-field bleachers.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
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