Game 5 Recap: Cards Scratch Out One Run Win

Alvarez struck out three times tonight and hit into a double play.

There will be better days for Pedro Alvarez. There will be – and already have been in his short career – stellar days. This was not one of them. Alvarez whiffed three times and hit into a double play as the Pirates offense came up a run short.

Everything started out well. Lyle Overbay launched his first homer as a Pirate in the first inning with Jose Tabata aboard. James McDonald allowed no hits through three innings. But the Pirates would get no more runs and the Redbirds would put together three single run innings to take the lead.

In the fourth Lance Berkman doubled and came home on an Allen Craig single. McDonald benefited from a 4-6-3 DP to ease out of further trouble. One inning later, consecutive singles put Cardinals on the corners. McDonald got a sac fly from Albert Pujols to tie the game. Pujols was in the spotlight again in the seventh. Garrett Olson was chucking it and allowed a one out single and a walk to put two men on. Chris Resop was called on to face Pujols and singled to left to give the Cardinals a one run lead and the win.

McDonald went 4-2/3 and gave up two runs. He yielded four hits and four walks. Olson was the loser in relief. Cardinals starter Kyle McClellan settled in after the first inning. He struck out seven in six innings and gave up one walk and six hits. But he wasn’t around for the win. That went to former Pirate Miguel Batista who tossed a scoreless seventh inning and got the first two outs in the eighth. Ryan Franklin pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.

The Good
Andrew McCutchen and Lyle Overbay each had two hits.

The bullpen was called upon early and gave up just one run – unfortunately the go ahead run – in 3-1/3 innings of work.

The Bad
Alvarez hit into a double play with two on in the sixth and struck out with the tying run on second and two out in the eighth.

The Rest
How odd is it that the only two active players left from the 1992 Pirates are Tim Wakefield and Miguel Batista? If you don’t remember Batista, he was a Rule 5 pick from Montreal. He pitched in one early game before being returned to the Expos. To clear a roster spot for him, the Pirates released Bill Landrum two days after trading John Smiley. Good times.

This was the first ever start for Kyle McClellan.

This was the third time in five games that Pirate hitters have whiffed at least ten times. The club has yet to strike out the opponents more than eight times in a single game.

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When we’re talking about strike out problems, don’t forget about Neil Walker. Although he’s been hitting great when he makes contact, he has struck out 10 times in 5 games, including 3 in this one.


Alvarez has struck out at an alarming rate thus far. Sure, it’s early and he is a notorious slow starter but he’s looking bad up there right now.

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