Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pirates 2, Brewers 1 Two Homers Power 50th Win of Season

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pirates 2, Brewers 1 Two Homers Power 50th Win of Season

Article excerpt

Pedro Alvarez homered into the Allegheny River, the bullpen pitched three shutout innings to close the game and the Pirates stayed perched atop all of baseball with their 50th win Saturday night after beating the Milwaukee Brewers, 2-1.

And it's not even July yet.

"Sellout crowds, we've been waiting for that," said closer Jason Grilli, who earned his 27th save with a 1-2-3 ninth to a roar from a fifth consecutive sellout at PNC Park. "We're playing for ourselves, but there was about 40,000 people tonight and the city we're playing for, also.

"It's just awesome to see everybody dusting off their Pirates shirts now and coming out in droves to get what they've been wanting for so long."

The win keeps the Pirates (50-30) in first place in the NL Central Division with the best record in baseball and stretches their winning streak to eight games.

Starter Francisco Liriano (7-3) had a solid outing on the mound, going six innings and giving up just one earned run on seven hits. He struck out six while earning the win.

His run support was limited -- but dazzling when it came.

Alvarez launched a fastball off Donovan Hand on a 1-2 pitch in the second that went 445 feet and landed in a tree before falling out and plunking into the river.

It was his 20th of the season and increased his career-long hitting streak to 12 games.

The Pirates threatened in the third when Starling Marte doubled to put two runners in scoring position.

But they didn't score again until Garrett Jones hit another solo home run off Hand into the shrubbery in straightaway center field to lead off the fourth.

"Two big swings of the bat, maybe one opportunity that got away," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We were able to play some defense. We made pitches when we needed to and the bullpen came in extremely efficient."

That bullpen didn't allow a hit -- Tony Watson in the seventh, Mark Melancon in the eighth and Grilli in the ninth.

"I can't say enough about our pitching staff, our bullpen, the guys on defense. …

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