Pedro Alvarez, now hitting .242, went 2-for-4 on Wednesday afternoon, including a single to start a two-run, ninth-inning rally, to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Mariners in Seattle.
The win was Pittsburgh’s sixth in a row, and finished a 7-2 road trip while boosting the Bucs’ interleague record this season to 11-3.
Alvarez led off the tied ballgame in the ninth inning with a base hit, advanced on a bunt by Neil Walker, and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Jordy Mercer. After baserunners Travis Snider and Mercer advanced on the throw to home plate, Mercer scored on a wild pitch on a third strike to Starling Marte, who safely reached first base.
Walker had given the Pirates a 2-0 advantage with a 2-run home run in the fourth inning. The Mariner’s Michael Saunders cut the lead in half with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly. Seattle’s 41 year-old left fielder, Raul Ibanez tied the score at 2-2 in the sixth frame with his 18th homer of the season.
Both teams recorded eight hits, with Alvarez, Walker and Mercer all tallying a pair for the Pirates (48-30), and Nick Franklin going 2-for-5 for Seattle (34-45).
In his first start following an injury rehabilitation assignment, Pittsburgh’s Jeanmar Gomez worked five innings, allowing only one run and three hits, with five strikeouts and two walks. But, the win went to reliever Vin Mazzaro (4-2; 2.88 ERA). Mark Melancon worked the ninth inning for his second save of the season. Seattle starter Felix Hernandez struck out 11 Pittsburgh batters in seven innings. Charlie Furbush (1-4; 4.03 ERA) took the loss.
Following an off-day on Thursday, the Pirates will start a homestand on Friday night with the first of three games against the Milwaukee Brewers. Rookie Gerrit Cole (3-0; 3.44 ERA) is expected to make his fourth start for Pittsburgh. Due to injuries in their starting rotation, the Brewers have announced that Johnny Hellweg has been called up from the minors (7-4 in “AAA”), and will make his Major League debut against the Bucs. Hellweg (6-foot-9, 205 lbs.) has won his last six minor league starts.