SAN FRANCISCO -- For the first time in memory, Pedro Alvarez on Wednesday was a healthy scratch for a second straight game in which the Pirates faced a right-handed starter.
Thus, while Alvarez works overtime on reigniting both sides of his game, this much becomes clear: Josh Harrison, the apparent eternal reserve, has played the All-Star third baseman to the bench.
"It's pretty simple at the end of the day: He's not outplaying Harrison," manager Clint Hurdle said by way of explaining why Alvarez was left off his afternoon lineup against the Giants' Tim Lincecum. "We need to pay attention to the whole team."
Harrison was back at third base and Travis Snider in left field, the day after those two teamed to drive in all the runs in the Bucs' 3-1 victory Tuesday night.
"Right now," Hurdle added, "the focus is for [Alvarez] to continue working on consistency on both sides of the ball and to get the guys who are hot in [the lineup]."
In the finale of this three-game series, the Pirates were trying to sustain a hot second-half getaway that had seen them win eight of the first 11 games coming out of the All-Star break.
In those 11 games, Harrison had hit .308 and Snider .467, with both hitting three homers and driving in seven runs. In the same stretch, Alvarez was 4-for-18 (.222) without an RBI, but with three errors.
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.