In 42 games at the cleanup spot, Alvarez has driven in 24 runs. But 15 of those RBIs have come on his eight home runs, and he has left 100 other baserunners on base.
Alvarez proved Hurdle right, launching a two-run homer in the fourth inning of Friday night's 4-3 victory over the Nationals.
Ike Davis moved into the No. 4 spot, with Alvarez lowered to the six-hole. Between them was Russell Martin, returning from 25 days on the DL and one day on suspension.
"It's to provide more consistency through the lineup. It's been seven weeks," Hurdle said of Alvarez's cleanup tenure, "and Pedro and I chatted. I just feel it's time, given Ike's work over the last three weeks -- and this is not a new situation for him."
Davis, who has hit .328 in 19 games this month, predominantly batted cleanup for the Mets, who dealt him to Pittsburgh on April 18. In 173 career games in that slot, he had hit .240, with 42 homers and 112 RBIs.
"We're not even looking for power (out of the four-hole), but quality of the at-bat," Hurdle said. "And Pedro has shown some historical success hitting sixth in the lineup."
At No. 6, Alvarez is a career .250 hitter, with 35 homers and 108 RBIs in 177 games. Through repeated trials at No. 4, he has hit .192 in 123 games with 20 home runs, and driven in 63 runs.
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.