The third baseman stayed hot, blasting his 26th homer of the season and driving in three runs as the Pirates rolled to a 5-0 victory over St. Louis on Wednesday night. Alvarez's three-run shot in the third gave him seven home runs and 23 RBI in 15 games against the defending world champions.
"I was just out there trying to compete," Alvarez said. "It's just one of those things."
The win, coming on the heels of a 9-0 rout over St. Louis on Tuesday, pulled Pittsburgh with one game of the Cardinals for the second NL wild card spot. It also gave them a needed boost as September neared.
Searching for the first winning season and playoff berth in two decades, the Pirates appeared in trouble after losing six of seven following a 4-3 defeat on Monday.
Instead, they bounced back with a resiliency that's been their calling card all year and has them playing important baseball into September for the first time since Barry Bonds was patrolling the outfield at Three Rivers Stadium.
"We had to get back on the right track," said right fielder Garrett Jones. "We were in a little rut there where for whatever reason we couldn't get back on the winning track and things weren't going our way. We stayed positive, stayed confident and knowing we could turn things around."
Wandy Rodriguez (9-13) worked six tidy innings for Pittsburgh to pick up his first victory as a starter since being acquired in a trade last month. Rodriguez walked three and struck out three while helping the Pirates shut out the Cardinals for the second straight night.
"You go against that offense and you put 18 zeros on the board in 18 innings, I couldn't be any prouder of them," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Offensively we found a way and had some two out big strikes. To finish the last 48 hours, we're going to battle."
Joe Kelly (4-6) struggled with control problems during five rocky innings, giving up five runs on eight hits.