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Published: Sunday, 6/17/2012

Pirates' Alvarez sinks Indians with 2 homers

Cleveland's Jimenez tagged for 4 runs in loss;

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pittsburgh's Casey McGehee, left, congratulates teammate Pedro Alvarez for hitting a two-run home run off Indians reliever Nick Hagadone in the ninth inning. Pittsburgh's Casey McGehee, left, congratulates teammate Pedro Alvarez for hitting a two-run home run off Indians reliever Nick Hagadone in the ninth inning.
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CLEVELAND -- A.J. Burnett was more concerned about stopping a team streak than extending his own run.

He did both as the Pittsburgh Pirates hit four homers to beat the Cleveland Indians 9-2 Saturday.

Burnett became the first Pittsburgh pitcher since 1990 to win six straight starts, Pedro Alvarez homered twice, and Casey McGehee also went deep and drove in four runs as the Pirates broke a four-game losing streak.

"I wanted to stop the bleeding, but this one is not about me," said Burnett, who extended the best stretch by a Pirates pitcher since Doug Drabek won six in a row during his NL Cy Young Award-winning season.

"The offense did the job today. The defense too. I left a lot of guys on base. Guys made plays behind me."

Burnett had not done well at Progressive Field until handing the Indians their fourth loss in five games. He came in 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA in six previous starts in Cleveland.

"He had an easy day of work," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We didn't even run his pitch count up."

Cleveland's Michael Brantley went 0 for 3 with a walk, halting the majors' longest hitting streak this season at 22 games.

After being shut out for the sixth time on Friday, the Pirates broke loose for 12 hits and the most runs since a 10-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on May 27.

"It's not about the homers, but about having better at-bats," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Hurdle liked how McGehee bounced back from being called out on strikes in the first inning and grounding into a double play against Ubaldo Jimenez (6-5) in the third.

"Casey was in a rough place early," Hurdle said. "Those things can send you the wrong way. Then he got a hanging breaking ball and banged it into the left-field bleachers."

The two-run shot in the sixth made it 4-2.

Alvarez's first homer tied it at 1 in the second. He added a two-run shot in the ninth off Nick Hagadone. That came after McGehee's two-out, two-run blooper to right made it 7-2.

Burnett walked four and gave up six hits, including homers to Asdrubal Cabrera in the first and Casey Kotchman in the fifth. He worked out of two jams.

After Cabrera's homer made it 1-0, Cleveland put two runners on. Johnny Damon then hit a blooper to short right, but second baseman Neil Walker made a tumbling, over-the-shoulder catch for the third out.

In the sixth, Cleveland loaded the bases on singles by Cabrera and Jason Kipnis along with Damon's two-out walk. Burnett got Shelley Duncan to pop out to end that threat.

"That was a huge inning for us," Acta said. "We had an opportunity to get back into the game and maybe take the lead."

The Pirates got a run on three straight one-out singles off Jimenez in the third. Garrett Jones' run-scoring hit made it 2-1 before Jimenez got McGehee to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Three innings later, McGehee hit his third homer -- all in his last eight starts. He is hitting .440 (11 of 25) the last two weeks against right-handers.

Jimenez gave up seven hits and four runs over six innings. The right-hander had allowed only two earned runs in two previous starts this month after struggling in May, when he had a 6.75 ERA six starts.

NOTES: Indians DH Travis Hafner, who had right knee surgery May 24, is hitting off a tee and said he hopes to start a rehab assignment "in two weeks." ... Damon's walk was the 1,000th of his career. He is 114th all-time.



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