The Pittsburgh Pirates evened up their series with the Cardinals on Tuesday with a 9-0 victory. Pedro Alvarez had a monster night at the dish and James McDonald stepped up with a steady performance on the mound. McDonald has struggled throughout much of the second half, but the righty was in rhythm all evening. He went seven shutout innings and allowed only two hits. Most importantly, he had his command and struck out six while walking only one.
Alvarez finished the night four for five at the plate, blasting two homers and driving in four. He hit almost a 900 feet worth of homers. The first went 422 feet to left center, a rocket on a 1-0 pitch by Jake Westbrook. The second went nearly 470 feet and went clear over the bleachers just to the right of the batter's-eye wall. He had a long-shot chance to match Willie Stargell's record of 15 total bases in one game, but he struck out on three pitches in the bottom of the eighth to finish the night.
While the game was a 9-0 blowout, it was not entirely without drama. Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison trucked St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina in the bottom of the second, knocking the Cards' leader out for the evening. Harrison was trying to score from second on a Jose Tabata slapped single to right. The throw one-hopped into Molina who was blocking the the line, leaving Harrison nowhere to go. Harrison's left shoulder went right into the head of Molina, knocking his helmet off but not jarring the ball loose. It was a violent collision but a clean play. The Cardinals still retaliated, however, as Westbrook hit Harrison in the leg in the fifth. Clint Hurdle angrily came out of the dugout, but the controversy ended there for the night.
The Bucs will now try to take the series on Wednesday with Wandy Rodriguez on the mound. Joe Kelly will take the hill for the Cards.