Erik Bedard Strikes Out 11 In 5 Innings, Pedro Alvarez Homers In 6-3 Win

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 3: Starter Erik Bedard #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on May 3, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The Pirates struck out a ridiculous 17 batters and Pedro Alvarez hit yet another homer as the Bucs finished their series against the Cardinals with a 6-3 win.

Erik Bedard led the way with an incredible 11 strikeouts in five innings. It took him 104 pitches to get through those innings, unfortunately. The majority of those came in the first two innings. In the first, Rafael Furcal, David Freese and Allen Craig all doubled to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead. (The Freese double was particularly frustrating, since it came on an 0-2 count and Bedard pretty clearly missed his spot.) In the second inning, another Clint Barmes error to put leadoff hitter Tyler Greene aboard. Bedard struck out Tony Cruz, but pitcher Jake Westbrook singled. After yet another strikeout, Bedard walked Jon Jay to load the bases. He then got Matt Holliday to ground out to end the threat.

After that, though, Bedard was great, striking out seven straight batters (!!!) between the third and fifth innings, and the Pirates clawed their way back. The Bucs scored one in the fourth when Pedro Alvarez singled and Clint Barmes hit a grounder that deflected off Freese's glove for a double. In the sixth, the Bucs took the lead when Alvarez hit a 3-2 fastball to the opposite field for a two-run homer. They then added one each in the seventh (on a Jose Tabata double and Alex Presley groundout), eighth (on consecutive doubles by Garrett Jones and Barmes) and ninth (on a Casey McGehee double, a fielder's choice, and a Nate McLouth single)

The Cardinals got one back against Joel Hanrahan in the bottom of the inning, and the Bucs' bullpen walked five batters, but they also struck out six. Jason Grilli in particular continues his excellent pitching -- with two strikeouts today, he now has 18 in 10 innings so far this season.

The Pirates' offense, too, finally looks wide awake after their horrendous start this year. Alvarez is a huge part of that, obviously, but so are Jose Tabata (who went 3-for-5 today) and Neil Walker.

... I forgot to mention: McCutchen apparently left the game because he was having stomach trouble. It doesn't sound like it's any long-term issue.

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