Alvarez wows Bucs, Crew with monster smash

Alvarez wows Bucs, Crew with monster smash

MILWAUKEE -- Pedro Alvarez's seventh career two-homer game, and his third against Milwaukee pitching, came in two flavors on Saturday: Loud, and long.

Alvarez's first crank, a two-run blow off Mike Fiers in the second inning of the Bucs' 5-2 win, was a laser into the right-field corner. The second shot, off Alfredo Figaro in the ninth, soared over the last row of the right-field second deck, scattering vendors on the concourse beyond.

Men in Pirates uniforms are accustomed to having their jaws dropped by Alvarez, but Saturday's experience was a new one for the Brewers' Carlos Gomez. He had two homers himself in the game, but nothing like what he saw off Alvarez's bat, estimated by Miller Park personnel at 459 feet, and by ESPN at 433 feet.

"In games, I think that's the first one I've seen," said Gomez, making a distinction from batting-practice displays. "It's amazing. It's not fun to see one of your pitchers get hit like that, but after everybody cools off, you are reminded it's really awesome."

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle would just like to be awed a little more regularly.

"We've gotten that in spurts," Hurdle said, "but not consistently. [Saturday], his swing looked like it's in a good place. We need him. We're a much better team when he can have some consistency to his offense."

Alvarez has spent most of this season deep in the lineup, hitting either No. 6 or No. 7. Hurdle still regards him as most ideal cleanup hitter in his clubhouse, but that is a role he must still grow into.

"Pedro will let us know when he's ready to hit in the middle. He hasn't yet," Hurdle said. "I've tried that twice, and had to back away both times."

Alvarez began this season in the cleanup spot but was dropped after going 2-for-11. In an extended trial last season in the four-hole, he hit .140 with one homer and 35 strikeouts in 24 games.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.