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Alvarez, Snider power comeback as Bucs win, 5-4

Brian Kersey

Through six innings, the Pirates were down 4-0 against the Cubs, but homers by Travis Snider and Pedro Alvarez in the seventh led the Bucs to a 5-4 comeback win Thursday.

Cole had his usual nasty stuff and mostly pitched well, striking out ten, but he still allowed four runs. The annoying Emilio Bonifacio reached on Cole's error in the third, then came around to score when he stole second and Tony Sanchez chucked the ball into the outfield while trying to throw him out.

Then in the fourth, the Cubs added three more, thanks in part to three ground ball singles. With the score at 3-0, Welington Castillo finally hit a line drive. Starling Marte's throw beat Starlin Castro home, but the umpire ruled Castro safe, apparently somehow thinking he had slid under the tag. (Clint Hurdle didn't challenge the play.) Castillo then moved to third while Sanchez wallowed in the dirt, upset about the call. It wasn't a great day for Sanchez defensively, unfortunately.

One can never rule these Bucs out, though. In the seventh, Neil Walker doubled, and then Snider hit his second homer of the year, bashing a Brian Schlitter fastball to dead center. Marte singled and Andrew McCutchen walked, and the Cubs brought in lefty James Russell to face Alvarez. No matter -- Alvarez smashed a first-pitch slider to center to put the Bucs up by one.

I'm not sure whether the Cubs had a righty reliever ready by that point. Probably they didn't. But I thought it was funny that they just left Russell out there to face lefty-killer Gaby Sanchez. You could imagine them just throwing up their hands. These Pirates -- not even a four-run lead can stop them. Jason Grilli loaded the bases in the ninth, but otherwise, the bullpen got through the last three innings without much of a problem, and the Bucs came away with a 5-4 victory.