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    February 12, 2019 8:08 AM GMT

    PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Alvarez mashed two home runs that travelled an estimated 831 feet Friday night. Spencer Long Jets Jersey . It was a series of sprints by the burly Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman, however, that ignited a 12-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Alvarez broke open a close game in the sixth by beating out a potential double play, followed it up with the fifth stolen base of his career then scored with a deft slide around St. Louis catcher Yadier Molinas tag that gave the Pirates the momentum they needed to pull away. "I thought the stolen base was key," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He puts a lot of focus on running the bases and hes arguably one of our best baserunners when hes on." It certainly looked like it, as Alvarezs outstretched left arm slid across the plate a split second before one of the games best defensive catchers could nab him. The Cardinals imploded from there as Shelby Miller (0-1) continued to struggle against Pittsburgh. Miller fell to 0-5 with a 5.92 ERA against the Pirates in his brief career after tying a career-high by allowing five runs in 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander is 16-5 with a 2.34 ERA in his 33 other major league appearances. "Its not the park. Its not the team. I just pitched poorly today," Miller said. "I guess it just lines up that way where I dont pitch well when I face them." Travis Ishikawa added his first major league home run in nearly two years for Pittsburgh. Gerrit Cole (1-0) gave up two runs in seven innings in his first start since losing the deciding Game 5 of the NL division series to St. Louis last October. Six months removed from a taut NLDS that pushed the eventual NL champions to the brink of elimination, the Pirates sent an early message they have no plans of going away. Cole is considered the ace in waiting after a stellar rookie season in which he was arguably Pittsburghs best pitcher over the final six weeks. Eager to take the next step in his development, the 23-year-old kept the Cardinals in check by mixing a fastball that consistently reaches the upper 90s with improved offspeed stuff. He also showcased some of his maturity, working out of a bases loaded situation in the fourth by getting Jhonny Peralta to fly out. His only mistake came in the fifth when Carpenter drilled a shot into the right field stands to pull the Cardinals to 3-2. Otherwise he teamed with catcher Russell Martin to keep St. Louis in check. "I think it was just a really well-played ballgame on our part," Cole said. "I cant say enough about what Russ did behind the plate. Not sure there are any other catchers in the entire world that could handle what I threw at him tonight." Pittsburghs offence -- which mustered all of 20 hits in 35 innings of a season-opening series against the Chicago Cubs -- made sure it didnt stay close for long after pounding out 16 hits in eight innings against the NL Central favourites. Alvarez began the year in a 1 for 15 slump but ended that with a home run to the gap in left-centre for his first home run of the season. He added his second two innings later with a long drive to right-centre that travelled an estimated 448 feet. His hustle down the first-base line in the sixth allowed Pittsburghs rally to continue and the Pirates pressed the advantage. Molina committed a rare error after Alvarezs slide, botching a potential rundown at third base when his throw hit Martin in the back and rolled into the stands. The miscue gave the Pirates a 5-2 lead and Pittsburgh poured it on in the late innings. NOTES: Ishikawas solo home run in the fourth was his first since May 15, 2012 while playing for the New York Yankees. ... The start of the game was delayed 1:05 by rain, the third straight game a Cardinals game was delayed by weather. ... Injured Cardinals 2B Mark Ellis is starting baseball activities but it remains uncertain when hell be ready to return from left knee tendinitis. Ellis went on the 15-day DL on March 27 and is eligible to return on April 11. ... The series continues on Saturday. RHP Joe Kelly will make his season debut for the Cardinals against Pittsburghs Francisco Liriano (0-0, 0.00). New York Jets Jerseys .  Arsene Wenger reportedly wants to convert the player into an attacking force, much like he did with Robin Van Persie. Sam Darnold Jersey . -- The Minnesota Vikings released reserve cornerback A.2. If, at the start of the NBA playoffs, you picked Kawhi Leonard to be the MVP of the Finals, could you please produce a witness or some other form of proof?3. Its pretty hard to avoid asking it like this, so here goes: Didnt it do your heart good to see Erik Compton qualify for the Masters with his runner-up finish at the U-S Open?4. Already charged with killing three men, Aaron Hernandez is also charged with threatening to kill a jail guard and his family and with assaulting a handcuffed inmate. Of course, we presume Hernandez is innocent until proven guilty, but what are the chances hes innocent on all counts?5. I say this every time a new team picks a nickname that doesnt seem to fit—"Well get used to it". So are we comfortable yet with "Ottawa Redblacks"?6. And not to pick on Ottawa, but what are the chances that Erik Karlsson will play his entire career as a Senator? When Daniel Alfredsson leaves one year and Jason Spezza asks to leave the next, and when the sagas of Dany Heatley and Alexei Yashin are remembered, it makes you wonder, doesnt it?7. You know how Oscar recipients react with that "I never expected to win" expression? That was USA soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann at the 32-second mark vs. Ghana. The difference? The actors are acting.8. If its wrong to mention a no-hitter in the 8th inning, should I not point out that Mark Buehrle has made 443 career starts without spending a day on the disabled list?9. Would you like to pass on some sound advice to the general manager of your favourite NHL team? Tell him to spend a lot more time thinking about what to do on draft day than on July 1st. Use the Los Angeles Kings as an example of a team built largely with draft picks and players acquired in trades and hardly at all with free agents.10. How many ways can you dislike a human being, and how close is Donald Sterling to the maximum?11. Conversely, when a person is described as "nice", it is considered a compliment, but because there are too many of the other kind, dont youu think it should be regarded as high praise? One of the nicest people I ever interviewed was Tony Gwynn. Sam Darnold Jets Jersey. 2. Just wondering—have you seen a car flying the flag of Cameroon? Your answer—"maybe". 13. How do you argue that a pitchers win total is a meaningful stat when Randy Choate of the St. Louis Cardinals records a win by throwing one pitch? Well, you argue that Choates one pitch got the Cardinals out of a bases-loaded jam in a 1-1 tie and it was the most important pitch of the game….I guess.14. If you liked Spain or Portugal to win the World Cup, are you now trying to remember how many people you told?15. If the NHLs "compliance buyout period" sounds too cumbersome, what do you say we refer to "Ville Leino Days"?16. If the Blue Jays arent impressing you quite as much these days, can you name another American League East team that seems likely to overtake them?17. With the San Antonio Spurs in mind, is there anybody who will claim its unfair if Carmelo Anthony signs with the Miami Heat?18. The National League may be a pitchers league, but can you name a pitcher who is about to face Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen 1-2-3 in the Pittsburgh Pirates batting order who would feel confident?19. After being three wins away from the Stanley Cup, do you think the New York Rangers begin next season as a strong championship contender or as just another team in the Eastern Conference? Heres something to know—in the last 30 years, the number of teams that lost the Stanley Cup final one year and won the Stanley Cup the next year is one—Pittsburgh Penguins 2008-09.20. And finally, we learned from Martin Kaymer that Fathers Day in Germany was two weeks ago. Does it make you wonder how many other Fathers Days there are in how many other countries? Me neither, but thanks to Martin Kaymer, and apart from Erik Compton, it was the most interesting part of the U-S Opens final round.Video—"My Fathers Eyes"—Eric Clapton. 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