Maturing Alvarez fueling Pittsburgh's playoff push

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Associated Press

Posted on August 30, 2012 at 3:00 PM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pedro Alvarez can't explain why he's so streaky. When the Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman is hot, however, he has the ability to carry a team.

It's what he did during a pair of shutout wins over St. Louis on Tuesday and Wednesday, hitting three homers and driving in seven runs as the Pirates pulled within one game of the Cardinals for the NL's second wild card spot.

Alvarez has already slugged a career-high 26 home runs with a month to go in the season and is hitting .280 in the second half of the year heading into a three-game series in Milwaukee on Friday.

The 25-year-old Alvarez says he's in a comfortable place at the plate. He's helped take some of the pressure off All-Star centerfielder Andrew McCutchen in the process.

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