Cardinal killer Pedro Alvarez strikes again

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Pedro Alvarez followed up Tuesday’s two-homer game with another home run and a double as the Pirates topped the Cardinals 5-0 on Wednesday.

Alvarez ended the three-game series 8-for-13 with seven RBI. It’s just his latest outburst against the Cardinals. For the season, he’s hitting .397 with seven homers, 13 runs scored and 23 RBI in 58 at-bats against the Cardinals. He’s at .225 with 19 homers, 42 runs scored and 47 RBI in 447 at-bats against everyone else.

To put that in perspective, Alvarez averages one homer every eight at-bats and one RBI every 2.5 at-bats versus the Cards. He averages one homer every 24 at-bats and one RBI every 9.5 at-bats versus the rest of baseball.

Unfortunately for Alvarez, tonight’s game was the Pirates’ last against against the Cardinals this year. They won the season series 8-7, but they’re still one game back of St. Louis for second place in the NL Central.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.