ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 29: Pedro Alvarez #24 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 289 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Kevin Correia walked five batters and struck out none in 4.1 innings and also got some poor defense from Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez as the Pirates lost 4-3 to the Braves on Sunday, but this loss also featured a 3-for-5 performance from Jose Tabata and a 2-for-4 from Alvarez, so I'll take it -- the Bucs' bats finally seem to be coming alive.
Alvarez led off the second with a line-drive single. Michael McKenry snuck a single through the infield a couple batters later. Alex Presley walked, and Tabata singled home Alvarez and McKenry with a ground-ball single of his own.
In the third, Tim Hudson reached on McCutchen's fielding error. Michael Bourn walked, and Martin Prado reached on yet another error, this time by Alvarez. Freddie Freeman knocked in Hudson with a sacrifice fly, but that was all the Braves managed to get, as Brian McCann lined out to shortstop. The Braves tied the game the next inning, however, when Dan Uggla walked, advanced on a grounder, and then came home when Correia hung a breaking ball against Tyler Pastornicky.
The Braves took the lead in an ugly fifth inning in which Bourn singled, then came home when Correia walked three of the next four batters. Atlanta added an insurance run in the seventh when Prado homered off Brad Lincoln. The Pirates managed one irrelevant run on a wild pitch by Craig Kimbrel in the top of the ninth, and Alvarez impressively managed to double in the eighth against Jonny Venters, one of the best lefty relievers in baseball. Otherwise, though, the Braves' bullpen kept the Pirates in check.
Tabata actually has a five-game hitting streak going, and Alvarez's second straight multi-hit game puts his average at .200 and his OPS at a respectable .732. The Pirates still haven't exceeded five runs in a game yet, but if Tabata and Alvarez can continue to keep from being automatic outs, it'll happen soon enough.