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Alvarez out with a bang

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MILWAUKEE — In case you missed it, Pedro Alvarez went out with a bang Thursday night in what likely was his final game at Blair County Ballpark in Altoona. He homered twice to lead Double-A Altoona past Trenton, 9-4.

The Curve play this weekend at Erie. Monday, Alvarez will join Team USA for the World Cup in Europe.

The Pirates’ top draft pick last year, Alvarez has 26 homers — tops among all players in the organization this season. It was his first double-homer game at Double-A level (he last did it June 16 for Class A Lynchburg).

Alvarez will press for a big league job during spring training. At the very least, he should begin 2010 at Triple-A.

• The next time the Pirates trade for a player who soon turns up with an injury, remember this: Nyjer Morgan (hand), Freddy Sanchez (shoulder), Jack Wilson (hamstring) and Nate McLouth (hamstring) all are on the disabled list. Morgan is done for the year. Xavier Nady (Tommy John surgery) won’t be back until sometime next year. Damaso Marte has been bumped up and mostly ineffective since being traded to the Yankees.

• Runs created (RC), a stat invented by Bill James, is a rather accurate gauge of how many runs a batter produces. The bare-bones formula is on-base percentage divided by total bases. There also are other versions that include stolen bases, grounded into double plays, and so on.

Lee Sinins of the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia takes that notion a step further with runs created above average (RCAA), which computes a player’s RC compared to the league average. Runs saved above average is a similar stat for pitchers.

According to Sinins, the Pirates rank 12th in the National League with a RCAA of minus-37 and 12th in the league with a RSAA of minus-37.

The NL individual leader in RCAA is — who else? — Albert Pujols (64), followed by Prince Fielder (51) and Chase Utley (49). The Pirates’ top five are Garrett Jones (18), Andrew McCutchen (11), Nate McLouth (six), Delwyn Young (six) and Freddy Sanchez (two).

The NL’s top pitcher in RSAA is Tim Lincecum (38), followed by Dan Haren (37) and Matt Cain (35). The Pirates’ leaders are Zach Duke (16), Evan Meek, John Grabow and Sean Burnett (four apiece), and Joel Hanrahan, Jesse Chavez and Steven Jackson (two apiece).

• Because the Pirates scored 10 runs over the three-game series against Philadelphia, 2,500 left and right field box seat tickets for each game the Sept. 4-6 series against St. Louis are on sale for $14 apiece. The $10 discount is due to the “You score as the Pirates score” promotion.

• Lineups for tonight’s game:

PIRATES (53-72) — 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Delwyn Young 2b, 3. Garrett Jones rf, 4. Andy LaRoche 3b, 5. Ryan Doumit c, 6. Lastings Milledge lf, 7. Steve Pearce 1b, 8. Luis Cruz ss, 9. Zach Duke (10-11, 3.38) lhp

BREWERS (61-66) — 1. Felipe Lopez 2b, 2. Jason Bourgeois rf, 3. Ryan Braun lf, 4. Prince Fielder 1b, 5. Casey McGehee 3b, 6. Mike Cameron cf, 7. Jason Kendall c, 8. Alcides Escobar ss, 9. Manny Parra 8-10, 6.54)

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