Pirates' Alvarez honors dad with key homer

John Perrotto, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- The average person sends his parents cards on Mother's Day and Father's Day.
Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez hits home runs for his folks.
Alvarez snapped a tie with a three-run home run in the fifth inning, lifting the Pirates to a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday. He did it with his father, also named Pedro, watching from the PNC Park stands.
The older Alvarez moved his family to New York from the Dominican Republic with the younger Alvarez was only 1 year old and supported his kin as a taxi driver.
On Mother's Day, Alvarez hit a three-run homer against the Mets at Citi Field in New York.
"It just makes it extra special," Alvarez said. "It was great that my father was here to see this game. He sacrificed a lot to make life better for my sister and I. He means so much to me."
Alvarez's team-leading 15th home run carried out to dead center field and put the Pirates in front to stay 5-2, enabling Pittsburgh to take two games in the three-game series. The two-out shot came after Garrett Jones singled and Neil Walker walked.
"We needed someone to click one with men on base, and Pedro clicked one," manager Clint Hurdle said.
The odds seemed stacked against Alvarez when he stepped into the batter's box, as he was 1-for-14 lifetime against Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke to that point.
"You can't really worry about what happened before," Alvarez said. "You just have to take it at-bat to at-bat."
Gerrit Cole (2-0) stayed perfect through his two major league starts as he beat the Dodgers five days after defeating the Giants in his debut. The top pick in the 2011 amateur draft from Stanford allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings with no walks and one strikeout.
"I'm really happy to be able to come up and pitch well enough to help the team win," Cole said. "But I also know I need to do more. I've only gone 6 1/3 and 5 2/3 innings in my two starts. I need to get deeper than that. We're getting to the point in the season where the bullpen is going to start having aches and pains, and I need to eat up more innings to help those guys out. That's why I'm here."
Alex Presley had a home run among his three hits for the Pirates (41-28). Jones had two hits, including a two-run single to open the scoring in the first inning, and Jordy Mercer also had two hits.
Jason Grili pitched a scoreless ninth for his 25th save in as many opportunities, tying the club record for most consecutive saves to start a season. Joel Hanrahan set the mark in 2011.
Los Angeles rookie right fielder Yasiel Puig went 3-for-4 to lift his average to .479 through 13 games. Andre Ethier had two hits and two RBIs, but the Dodgers lost for the sixth time in eight games to fall a season-worst 10 games under .500 at 29-39.
"It's been kind of the same story, and that's that we haven't been able to win a series," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. "We were in a position to win this series and had Greinke on the mound, and we didn't get it done again."
Greinke (3-2) was tagged for five runs and eight hits in five innings while walking two and striking out three. He had allowed just two runs and six hits over 14 innings in his previous two starts.
"The main thing was some big situations came up and I made bad pitches in important situations," Greinke said. "That's what happened."
After Alvarez's homer, the Dodgers got within 5-3 in top of the sixth on an RBI single by Ethier.
However, Presley got the run back for the Pirates in the bottom half by hitting a solo shot off Matt Guerrier.
Jones gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead, but the Dodgers answered with single runs in the second and fourth. Puig scored the first run on Tim Federowicz's groundout, and Ethier tied it with a run-scoring single.
NOTES: Puig is likely to stay in the majors even when CF Matt Kemp (right hamstring) and LF Carl Crawford (left hamstring) are activated from the disabled list, Mattingly said. ... Los Angeles 3B Juan Uribe was a late scratch from the starting lineup because of tightness in his back. He was available to pinch-hit but didn't get into the game. ... Pittsburgh C Russell Martin was in the original starting lineup, then was removed because of lower-body soreness. ... Pirates LF Starling Marte did not start for the fourth straight day because of a strained left oblique muscle, but he entered the game in the sixth inning as part of a double switch. ... Pittsburgh opens a four-game series at Cincinnati on Monday night with LHP Francisco Liriano (5-2, 2.36) facing Reds RHP Mike Leake (6-3, 2.76). ... The Dodgers are off Monday, then open a two-game series Tuesday night against the Yankees in New York. It will be Mattingly's first trip in a Dodgers uniform to the Bronx since the Yankees passed him over and hired Joe Girardi as manager following the 2007 season. ... The start of the game was delayed 1:28 by rain.

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