Pirates 8, Rockies 7(10)

Pedro Alvarez could only envision one way in which the most
dramatic moment of his burgeoning baseball career can be
topped.

Alvarez hit a winning three-run homer with two out in the 10th
inning to send the Pittsburgh Pirates to a wild 8-7 win over the
Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.

”It’s pretty unreal,” the rookie said. ”I can remember one
other time hitting a walkoff home run, but obviously here on a
Saturday night, a packed house, in the big leagues, nothing can
beat that – maybe expect Game 7 of the World Series.”

Alvarez’s 10th homer in 45 career games – and second in as many
days – came on an 0-1 pitch from Huston Street (2-3) with Andrew
McCutchen and Garrett Jones aboard, allowing the seventh sellout
crowd at PNC Park this year to enjoy a post-game George Thorogood
concert all the more.

”This was a great win in front of a big crowd,” Pirates
manager John Russell said. ”The guys were excited. I think the
baseball gods are finally looking down on us saying, ‘Enough is
enough.’ We did a lot of great things tonight, and unfortunately we
were in a position to lose it.”

Ian Stewart hit a tying three-run homer in the ninth for the
Rockies and Todd Helton’s two-run shot off Sean Gallagher (2-0) in
the 10th made it 7-5.

Jones and Chris Snyder also homered for last-place Pittsburgh,
which has won three of five. Alvarez, the No. 2 overall draft pick
two years ago, connected for the ninth time at home this season,
capping a 3-for-6 night.

”For a young guy to come up in those big situations like that,
that’s huge,” Snyder said. ”That’s how you set the tone of a
solid career.”

The 36-year-old Helton, a former National League RBI champion,
homered for only the third time this season, a line drive deep into
the elevated seats in right after Dexter Fowler led off the inning
with an infield single.

The first baseman had one of the best views of Alvarez’s winner
down the line.

”I wasn’t sure it was a home run when he hit it,” first
baseman Helton said. ”But based on the way he reacted, I figured
he knew.”

The Rockies have lost eight of their last nine on the road,
making it difficult for them to remain in the NL playoff race.

”It’s a tough loss, obviously,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy
said. ”We haven’t done that all year, to come back like that and
then lose, it’s tough.”

Stewart’s 16th homer was to right-center off Joel Hanrahan after
Troy Tulowitzki and Brad Hawpe singled to lead off the ninth.
Hard-luck Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf was in line for his second
win before Hanrahan’s first blown save opportunity since he
inherited the closer’s job when Octavio Dotel was traded at the
deadline last Saturday.

Stewart’s drive was his fifth since the All-Star break and
eighth coming in the seventh inning or later.

Pittsburgh trailed 1-0 before Snyder hit a three-run homer high
off the left-field foul pole off Jorge De La Rosa in the sixth. It
was Snyder’s 11th homer and first since being acquired from
Arizona.

Ohlendorf took line drives off his body early during each of his
two most recent starts – including one off his head in Colorado on
July 28 that forced him to leave the game in the first inning. He
made it through Saturday unscathed, allowing two runs, one earned,
and four hits in six-plus innings.

Colorado got an unearned run in the seventh, but Jones got that
right back when he led off the bottom half with his 16th homer and
fourth in six games against the Rockies this season.

Still, the Pirates were more impressed with Jones’ at bat in
10th, in which he worked an eight-pitch walk.

”He could have been selfish and tried to go for the fences,”
Alvarez said, ”but he tried to put together a good at bat, which
he did, walked and gave the opportunity to the next guy.”

An opportunity Alvarez took advantage of.

”He’s one of those guys who really wants to be on the stage –
in a good way; not in a cocky way,” Russell said. ”He wants to be
the guy.”

NOTES: RHP Esmil Rogers will start for the Rockies on Sunday.
Rogers is 1-2 with a 4.85 ERA in 13 games, two starts, this season.
The rotation turn came available when the team placed RHP Aaron
Cook on the disabled list Thursday. … Every Pittsburgh starter
had at least one hit – including the 6-foot-4, 245-pound Ohlendorf
managing an infield single. … The Rockies used every available
pitcher in their bullpen.