The victory helped the Pirates take the season series from St. Louis 8-7, not an insignificant number with both teams battling for a postseason berth. If the two clubs are tied for the second wild card spot at the end of the regular season, the Pirates would have host the play-in game.
The playoffs don't begin for another five weeks. Pittsburgh, however, remains intent on being a factor until the end.
"We can definitely use these two wins as a sparkplug for games to come," Alvarez said.
Particularly if the former first-round pick continues to develop into the lineup-anchoring power hitter the team envisioned when it drafted him four years ago. Alvarez certainly feasted on St. Louis pitching this season, going 23-for-58 (.396).
He gave Rodriguez all the offense necessary in the third. Coming to the plate with two on and two out, Alvarez drilled an 82 mph curveball from Kelly into the right field seats. The ball left the park so quickly Alvarez barely had time to break into his home run trot before it landed.
""I let the hottest hitter on their team beat me," Kelly said. "I was down 3-1 and hung a breaking ball to a good hitter. I made a bad pitch and he made me pay."
The blast gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead and Alvarez made it 5-0 in the fifth when he doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Josh Harrison.