Led by Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and Russell Martin, the Pirates blew out the Brewers Saturday night, 10-2, extending their winning streak to three games since losing seven in a row.
Edinson Volquez suffered through a rocky outing, giving up 11 hits in 5.2 innings and seemingly allowing hitters to reach base left and right, and yet he kept the Brewers off the board while the Bucs' offense did serious damage.
In the fourth, Walker walked and Martin doubled, and Alvarez drove them both in with an opposite-field, three-run homer. The Pirates then blew the game open in the fifth. Travis Snider reached on an error, Andrew McCutchen hit an infield single, and then Walker brought Snider home with a single. Then came Martin with a homer to center, and Alvarez followed with another opposite-field homer, this time a solo shot. That proved to be more than enough, although Walker added two RBI singles in the late innings.
The Pirates' winning streak is perfectly timed, coming at a crucial point in the season and against top divisional competition. They're now within four games of the Brewers for the division lead and within a game and a half of the last Wild Card spot. And maybe Alvarez is now primed to go on a tear and start winning games all by himself, the way he frequently did in 2012 and 2013. A few days ago, the Pirates looked like they needed serious help, but now, they're right back in it.