June 17, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez (24) is congratulated by shortstop Clint Barmes (12) after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Pedro Alvarez -- what a frustrating, intriguing, bizarre season he's having. He vanishes for a month, and then he practically wins games by himself. After hitting two homers on Saturday, he added two more today as the Pirates beat the Indians 9-5 to win two out of three.
The Indians got on the board first, with a solo homer by Jason Kipnis. In the second inning, Johnny Damon singled and stole second. Then Casey Kotchman grounded to second, and Neil Walker, playing on the grass with the shift on, couldn't make the play, and Damon came all the way home.
At that point, it was already pretty clear that Brad Lincoln was going to have another pretty bad start. Luckily for him, things were about to get even worse for Jeanmar Gomez. Gomez allowed a single and then Casey McGehee reached on an error, and then Alvarez knocked both runners home to put the Pirates up 3-2 in the fourth.
In the bottom of the inning, Lincoln gave up a leadoff double to Damon, then a walk to Lou Marson. Shin-Soo Choo hit a ball to left that Alex Presley took a poor route to, and it went over Presley's head for a two-run double. With the Indians up 4-3, the Pirates yanked Lincoln, who again didn't do much to show he belongs in the rotation, and replaced him with Tony Watson.
Presley hit a solo homer in the top of the fifth to tie the game, however, and then Gomez proceeded to load the bases. Casey McGehee hit what should have been a double-play ball to Asdrubal Cabrera, but Cabrera dropped it and then made an unwise attempt to slap the ball to second base. Two runners scored, and everyone was safe. 6-4 Pirates.
Then Alvarez was due up with two men on. For some reason, the Indians turned to Esmil Rogers, a hard-throwing but wild righty who the Rockies recently designated for assignment. I had no idea why Manny Acta did that when he could have brought in a lefty, or at least a good righty -- the Indians were within two runs at that point, so from their perspective, the game was still very winnable. When I saw Rogers coming in, I was practically bouncing up and down in my seat, because it was clear what was going to happen. Alvarez smacked it just inside the right-field foul pole to put the Pirates up by five.
Jared Hughes gave up an RBI double to Michael Brantley in the seventh, but the Indians never really got close after that. Alvarez doubled in his next at bat to continue his amazing day, but regrettably, he got left in the on-deck circle in the ninth. Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan pitched the eighth and ninth even though the Indians were down four, and both had scoreless innings, although Hanrahan got some help from Cabrera, who made another giant mistake (after recording three errors on the day) by trying to stretch a single into a double, and from Jose Tabata, who gunned him down from right field.