Pedro Alvarez had all five of the Pirates' RBIs in a 5-3 victory over the Reds Thursday afternoon.
The Reds got one in the first thanks in part to Alvarez's throwing error, but he made up for that in the third when he helped tie the game by delivering the last of three straight two-out single.
Jay Bruce homered the next inning for the Reds to make it 2-1. That would be all Brandon Cumpton would give up in five innings, so it was a fairly good start for him, with three strikeouts, one walk, and two runs, one earned.
In the sixth, Alvarez tied the game with a solo shot on an inside fastball. Then in the seventh, Alvarez came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, and Alvarez whacked a surprising bases-clearing double off lefty Tony Cingrani to give the Pirates a comfortable lead. Bryan Morris allowed a run in the seventh, but Tony Watson breezed through the final two innings to earn the save.
It was a big win, as much as any win can be big this early in the season, in that the Pirates avoided falling another game behind the Reds. Alvarez now has six home runs in the month of June. The Bucs did strike out 12 times against Reds pitching, but when the Pirates strike out 12 times, it turns out to be important whether Alvarez contributed four of those, or just one. If Alvarez manages to make contact three times in a game, watch out.