Alvarez's blast sets tone for Pirates' offense
Third baseman notches three RBIs, Martin adds two-run shot vs. Red Sox
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pedro Alvarez drove in three runs Monday, two on his first home run of the spring, in a 7-6 Pirates win over the Boston Red Sox in Grapefruit League baseball.
Alvarez, the National League's co-homer leader last season, gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead with his two-run blow in the first off Brandon Workman. Russell Martin clubbed another two-run homer off Workman in the third, making it 4-1, and the Pirates kept pulling away that inning against reliever Chris Resop, on Alvarez's RBI single and Travis Snider's run-scoring double.
Boston had scored in the third without the benefit of a hit as Brock Holt, who had hit into a force after Garin Cecchini walked off Edinson Volquez, stole second and third before scoring on Jonathan Herrera's sacrifice fly.
The Red Sox got their first hit the next inning, when Andrew McCutchen appeared to turn the wrong way on A.J. Pierzynski's fly to straightaway center, which fell short of the warning track for a double.
Pierzynski added a single in the seventh -- and had to leave the game soon thereafter when he appeared to tweak a leg while awkwardly returning to the bag on a pickoff attempt. Bryce Brentz then hit a two-run homer off lefty Justin Wilson, scoring pinch-runner Jayson Hernandez ahead of him.
The Red Sox sent nine men to the plate in the eighth to tie the game at 6.
Mark Melancon and lefties Tony Watson and Wilson, the heart of the Pirates' 2013 bullpen, all made their Grapefruit League debuts.
Workman made the start for Boston in place of Jake Peavy, who had to be scratched after cutting his left index finger while using a fishing knife. Relievers Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa each tossed a scoreless frame.
Pirates Opening Day starter Francisco Liriano limited the Red Sox to one walk in the first two innings, picking up three strikeouts.
"I felt a lot better today with my fastball command," said Liriano, who had allowed a couple of runs in one inning in his first start, on Wednesday against the Yankees. "Everything is going the way I want it to go as I'm getting ready for the season."
Up next: The Bucs will troop out yet another starting outfield combination when they visit Lakeland, Fla., for a 1:05 p.m. ET meeting with the Tigers. Left to right, it will be Jose Tabata, Gregory Polanco and Jaff Decker. It will also be Chris McGuiness' turn to start in his first-base battle with Andrew Lambo as Gaby Sanchez's lefty platoon partner.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.