Alvarez, Marte go against the grain to help Bucs

Left-handed hitter delivers to opposite field, while free swinger draws bases-loaded walk

Alvarez, Marte go against the grain to help Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- Looking back on the state of his team six days ago, manager Clint Hurdle described the Pirates as the "definition of insanity." They believed in their talent, but the process and results were too often the same. And so the Pirates sat at 18-22.

"If you want more, you've got to do more," Hurdle said after Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Marlins, the Pirates' sixth straight. "The last six games, they've done more."

That was the case for two players in particular during Pittsburgh's five-run rally with two outs in the seventh inning. For Pedro Alvarez, it was another hit to the opposite field. For Starling Marte, it was a walk with the bases loaded.

Alvarez's game-tying RBI single

Alvarez is known for being a pull-heavy hitter. Before games, he frequently works on hitting the ball up the middle or to the opposite field. This year, that work has led to better results.

"The approach has always been the same," Alvarez said. "I just think it's a combination of seeing pitches out there and being able to put good swings on them and executing the swing to the pitch."

After Josh Harrison cut the Marlins' lead to 2-1, Alvarez came off the bench with runners on the corners. He slapped the third pitch from Marlins reliever Sam Dyson, a 98-mph fastball, into left-center field for a game-tying single.

It was Alvarez's 10th hit of the season to left field, as many as he's hit to right all year.

"The work he is doing before the game and in the cage is transferring to the game. That's the biggest part," Hurdle said. "Our guys have found a way to slow themselves down to a better pace, a much more workable pace, the last week or so. Pedro in particular."

Two batters later, after Andrew McCutchen walked to load the bases, Marte stepped to the plate. He is a free swinger by nature, walking in only 5 percent of his plate appearances this season. He hadn't drawn a walk in more than a week entering Wednesday's game.

But Marte worked a full count and took a low 96-mph fastball from Dyson, allowing Harrison to walk home as the go-ahead run.

"He's growing. He's learning," Hurdle said. "We've seen that on occasion from him before. He's showing some maturity. He's showing some discipline at the plate."

The next batter, Jung Ho Kang, broke the game open with a two-run single to cap off the two-out rally that showcased the Pirates' willingness to adapt and led to their sixth straight win.

"I just think it's this team's identity, just fighting, always trying to capitalize on any opportunity, not being over until the last pitch is thrown," Alvarez said. "This is a team that's resilient."

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.