PITTSBURGH -- A first hit. A first RBI. A first win. Pedro Alvarez got to experience all three in the Pirates' 6-4 victory over the Indians on Saturday.
Alvarez ended an 0-for-11 start to his Major League career with a double that bounced into the left-field stands in the fifth. The ground-rule double scored Lastings Milledge, who turned out to be the deciding run in a streak-snapping victory.
"He didn't hit that ball very well, and that's the kind of power he has," noted Pirates manager John Russell.
"I was just trying not to do too much, keep my eyes on the ball and put a good swing on it," Alvarez said. "I was very confident it was going to come. My main concern is trying to contribute to the team and win."
With numerous family members and friends among the 38,008 in the stands, Alvarez received a resounding ovation afterward, much like the one the third baseman heard when he stepped to the plate for his first big league at-bat on Wednesday.
"It's flattering to get such support and such an ovation," Alvarez said. "What more can I ask for? Ever since I got here, these people have embraced me with open arms and there is no greater feeling than that."
An usher was able to exchange a few autographed items to retrieve the ball for the 23-year-old Alvarez. He expected to have the ball in hand before leaving the ballpark on Saturday night.
"He has arrived finally," teammate Andrew McCutchen said. "I know how it feels to get the one out of the way. Hopefully, he just continues to learn from that one and go from here."
It had been only three days, but given the hype surrounding Alvarez's arrival, his hitless start has garnered some attention. By the time he stepped to the plate in the fifth, Alvarez had already struck out six times.