The Pirates were losing 1-0 when Pedro Alvarez singled in Andrew McCutchen in the top of the third.
The Pirates were losing 2-1 when Pedro Alvarez muscled a ball over the right field fence in the top of the sixth.
The Pirates were still tied at two when Pedro Alvarez laced a Tony Cingrani pitch into right field, clearing the loaded bases.
Pedro Alvarez had three of the Pirates' ten hits, two of their four extra base hits, and drove in all five runs. After really struggling to push runs across in two of the first three games of the series. Pedro Alvarez is frustrating, but he's one heck of a hitter when he's locked in and he absolutely devastated the Reds' pitching staff today.
While Alvarez will get (and deserve) a lot of the attention for this win, it's worth noting the impressive work from Brandon Cumpton, Bryan Morris, and Tony Watson today. Cumpton made his second big league start against a lineup that could've overwhelmed him, and he held the Reds to five hits and two runs in his five innings of work. Morris and Watson threw two innings apiece to help a depleted bullpen get through the afternoon, mostly shutting the Reds down after Alvarez's rampage gave the Pirates the lead.
Managing a split with this Cincinnati team on the road with the rotation in the shape that it's in right now is no small feat. The Pirates are 8-9 in June, which isn't bad since six of those games have been against the Reds, three have been against the Braves, and three have been against the Giants. Now they've got three against the Angels, two against the Mariners, a six-game homestand against the Brewers and Phillies, and a three-game set at Wrigley Field. It's time to start putting some more tallies in the win column, injuries be damned.
I think this game is a good example of why Hurdle does not need to be committed to Melancon in the 8th and Grilli in the 9th. If those two were available today Hurdle would have used them, and it would have been more of that story. But they were not avaialable, so Watson went in there and did just fine with a two inning save. I think this games shows that there are plenty of ways to close out a relatively close game against a tough opponent, and we do not have to be stuck with Melancon-Grilli in the 8th and 9th. And then, if we weren't committed to always saving them for those sitautions, it would free them up for other situations - like using one of our best relievers to get out of a jam early in the game.