Pedro Alvarez slammed his first home run in 20 days, a three-run shot in the fourth inning, helping boost the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-1 romp over the Tampa Bay Rays (31-47) in the first game of a three-game interleague series played Monday night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. The win, their third straight, put the Pirates (38-38) back at the .500 mark.
The slam was Alvarez’s 12th homer of the season and came in a four-run inning which put the Bucs ahead 6-1 at the time.
Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-5 with two RBI’s, two stolen bases and two runs scored. McCutchen is batting .217 overall, 366 in June and .425 in interleague play this season.
Ike Davis, Russell Martin, and Travis Snider also drove home runs for Pittsburgh. Starter Edinson Volquez (5-6) recorded the win, his third in five starts. Volquez worked eight innings, allowing one run and five hits, striking out one hitter and walking two. Jeanmar Gomez pitched a one-hit ninth inning.
James Loney tallied two of the Rays’ six hits, and drove in their sole run. Starter Alex Cobb (2-6) was tagged with the loss.
In the middle game of the series on Tuesday night, the Pirates are scheduled to start lefty Jeff Locke (0-1) against Tampa Bay’ Chris Archer (4-4).