Alvarez hits two homers as Pirates pound Cards

Pittsburgh, PA ( - Pedro Alvarez stroked two solo home runs and finished with three RBI to help the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-2 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday to open a three-game series.

It was the first time the teams played since Adam Wainwright outdueled Gerrit Cole, 6-1, in Game 5 of the 2013 NLDS.

Cole (1-0), who toed the rubber for Pittsburgh on Friday, worked seven innings and allowed two runs on six hits with three strikeouts to earn the win.

The start was Cole's first in the regular season against the reigning National League champions. He defeated the Cards in Game 2 of the NLDS with six innings of one-run ball before dropping the pivotal fifth game.

Travis Ishikawa also hit a solo shot for the Pirates, who opened the season by taking 2-of-3 from the Chicago Cubs.

Andrew McCutchen and Russell Martin each collected two hits and knocked in a pair of runs, while Starling Marte had three hits with a run scored in the win.

Matt Carpenter accounted for the only runs in the setback, crushing a two-run homer to right field in the fifth inning.

Shelby Miller (0-1) was on the bump for St. Louis, surrendering five runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. St. Louis has lost two of its last three games.

"I thought Shelby's stuff was pretty good just not sharp," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "They (Pirates) didn't miss a lot of those (pitches) that got too much of the plate."

Alvarez led off the bottom of the second with an opposite-field blast that opened the scoring.

Cole worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the top half of the fourth. After retiring nine straight batters, Kolten Wong singled to left before Matt Holliday laced a single to center.

Allen Craig and Yadier Molina were then set down in order after each hitter flew out, then Matt Adams walked to load the bases. Jhonny Peralta proceeded to fly out to right and Cole escaped the inning unscathed.

Alvarez started the home half of the fourth much like he did the second, hitting a towering drive to right-center that pushed the hosts' lead to 2-0.

Two batters later, Ishikawa blasted one over the right-field fence to give the Pirates a three-run edge.

"Tonight we got pitches to hit (and) we didn't miss them when we got them," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "We have been able to battle Miller pretty well."

Following a single from Miller, Carpenter belted a homer over the wall in right to cut the deficit to 3-2.

Pittsburgh broke the game open in the late innings as Martin singled Alvarez home and then scored on a throwing error by Molina.

Pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez then drove Neil Walker in with a single and the Pirates took a 6-2 lead into the seventh.

Martin added on in the bottom of the seventh with a bases-loaded single that plated Travis Snider.

McCutchen highlighted a five-run eighth with a two-run triple to right and Justin Wilson finished the Cardinals with a scoreless ninth.

Game Notes

Entering the game, Miller was 0-4 with a 5.32 ERA against the Pirates ... Marte tripled with two outs in the third but was stranded after a McCutchen lineout ... Pittsburgh was 6-for-11 with runners in scoring position ... The Bucs pounded out 16 hits to just six for St. Louis ... The Cardinals send Joe Kelly to the mound on Saturday and he will oppose Francisco Liriano, who makes his second start of the season.