Alvarez earns NL POW honors with four home runs

Alvarez earns NL POW honors with four home runs

Alvarez earns NL POW honors with four home runs
In Pirates history, only two third basemen have homered more times in a season than Pedro Alvarez.

Those power-hitting exploits continued last week, when Alvarez tied for the Major League lead with four homers, giving him 27 for the season and earning him National League Player of the Week honors for the second time in his career.

In six games this past week, Alvarez led the NL with a 1.042 slugging percentage. The 25-year-old also went 11-for-24 (.458) to rank third in the NL in batting average, and finished second by racking up 25 total bases.

Alvarez's biggest game of the week came last Tuesday, as he helped the Pirates score a key victory in the Wild Card race by matching a career high with four hits against the Cardinals. He homered twice, drove in four runs and scored three. The next day, Alvarez went 2-for-4, homered again and drove in three as the Pirates completed a series win.

The first four games of the week were all multihit efforts for Alvarez, who drove in a total of eight runs over that span. That performance allowed him to beat out candidates such as the Brewers trio of Ryan Braun (.433, three home runs, 10 RBIs), Aramis Ramirez (.346, three homers, 12 RBIs) and Marco Estrado (1-0, 0.75 ERA in two starts). It is Alvarez's first such award since he won one for the week ending Sept. 26, 2010.

Overall, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft is hitting .250 with an .827 OPS and 71 RBIs. Aramis Ramirez (31 in '01) and Frank Thomas (35 in 1958) are the only Pirates third basemen with more homers in a season than Alvarez.

Andrew Simon is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.