* Rookie Cole dominates with 100-mph fastball
* Alvarez leads attack with homer and double (Add quotes, details)
Oct 4 (Reuters) - The Pittsburgh Pirates gave the St Louis Cardinals a taste of their own medicine with an emphatic 7-1 victory on Friday to level their best-of-five National League Division Series at 1-1.
Pittsburgh's rookie starting pitcher Gerrit Cole and his hard-hitting team mates helped the Pirates pay back their 9-1 drubbing in Thursday's opener, by shutting down the top-seeded Cardinals on just four hits while banging out 10 of their own.
"Dynamite from pitch one," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said about his 23-year-old starter who struck out five and walked one. "Angles on the breaking ball, good location with the fastball, very aggressive. He pitched with intent, conviction.
"Big game performance for Gerrit. Just what we needed."
Cole, who yielded just two hits in six innings with a fastball clocked as high as 100 mph (160 kph), helped his own cause with a sharply-hit single up the middle in the second inning to drive in Pedro Alvarez with the first run of the game.
Alvarez who had doubled in the second inning, had a more leisurely tour around the bases in the third when he ripped a line-drive shot over the center-field fence for a two-run homer off Cardinals starter and loser Lance Lynn and a 3-0 lead.
Power-hitting third baseman Alvarez, who tied for the National League lead with 36 home runs, tipped his cap to Cole for helping the team get off to a hot start with his bat as well as his arm.
"He's competed at the plate all year, not just on the mound but in the (batter's) box," said Alvarez. "That's just the nature of his game. He just goes out there and competes."
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina homered in the fifth inning to put the Cardinals on the scoreboard.
The Cardinals were uncharacteristically sloppy in the field, misjudging some fly balls and foul pops, and third baseman David Freese missed a high pop at third base for a two-base error that led to an unearned run.
"We had some trouble with the ball in the air today," admitted St. Louis manager Mike Matheny. "The ball traveled differently today than probably any other game this season.
"We've taken a lot of pride in playing good, clean solid defense," he said, adding that he expected his team to get back on track.
The series now shifts to Pittsburgh for the next two games with Game Three scheduled for Sunday.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Gene Cherry)
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- Pittsburgh Pirates
- St Louis Cardinals
- Pedro Alvarez
- Gerrit Cole