Pedro Alvarez slammed a three-run home run, and Andrew McCutchen reached base five times in five plate appearances as the Pittsburgh Pirates edged the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
A 13-hit night for the Pirates (52-31) gave starter Jeff Locke his eighth win of the season. Locke (8-1; 2.12 ERA) left the game in the sixth inning after throwing 99 pitches. He allowed three runs (2 earned) and 7 hits, struck out two batters and walked three. The Pirates used four relievers, and Jason Grilli earned his 28th save, despite allowing a two-run home run to Domonic Brown with two out in the ninth inning.
Alvarez’s 21st homer gave the Bucs a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning. He went 2-for-4, and is now hitting .243. McCutchen raised his batting average to an even .300 with a triple, two singles and two walks. Russell Martin contributed a pair of RBI base hits. Neil Walker was 2-for-4. Gaby Sanchez scored a run on a wild pitch.
Brown and Delmon Young both recorded three of the 11 hits garnered by the Phillies (40-45). Ben Revere and Kevin Frandsen were both responsible for RBI singles. Carlos Ruiz scored on a fielding error. Philadelphia starter John Lannan (1-3; 5.15 ERA) took the loss.
With the win, the Pirates maintained a two-game lead in the National league Central Division over the St. Louis Cardinals (50-33), who trounced the Los Angeles Angels 12-2 in Anaheim.
The rubber game of the series will be played at 1:35 PM on the Fourth of July with Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole (4-0; 3.70 ERA) scheduled to face the Phillies’ Cole Hamel (2-11; 4.58 ERA).