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Alvarez gets night off

MILWAUKEE — For the first time in 23 games, Pedro Alvarez is not in the starting lineup. Andy LaRoche will start at third base tonight against the Brewers.

“It’s not so much Pedro needs a rest,” manager John Russell said. “It’s more about getting Andy in there for a game.”

LaRoche last started a game Aug. 10. Since then, he is 1 for 10 as a pinch-hitter. Since his last multi-hit game (June 4 against the Giants), LaRoche has gone 11 for 77 (.143).

Alvarez is batting .233 with 10 homers and 35 RBI, and has appeared in 62 games. He ranks third among NL rookies with 10 homers since he was called up June 16.

Although he has 14 RBI this month, Alvarez has not driven in a run since Aug. 16, when he notched three RBI in a game against the Marlins. Over the past eight games, Alvarez is 2 for 27.

»»» Right-hander Jeff Karstens (arm fatigue) threw a side today and checked out fine. He’s in line to make his next start Tuesday.

»»» Starting pitchers have claimed five of the Pirates’ seven victories this month. Tonight, James McDonald goes for his third in that span. McDonald also leads the team this month with 24 strikeouts.

»»» Four of the Pirates’ previous six games at Miller Park this year have been decided in the final inning.

»»» Altoona catcher Hector Gimenez and left-hander Rudy Owens were named to the Double-A Eastern League end-of-season all-star team. It’s the first time since 2006 there are two Curve players on the list. Gimenez has notched career highs in homes (16) and RBI (67). Last night, Owens picked up his 11th win of the year and is second in the league with a 2.56 ERA. He ranks third in the EL in wins and strikeouts (123).

»»» According to a Brewers press release, tonight will mark the team’s “first sponsored, full fireworks show at Miller Park since 2003.” Seven years without fireworks? That’ll never happen in Pittsburgh.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Pirates (43-84) — 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Lastings Milledge rf, 6. Andy LaRoche 3b, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Chris Snyder c, 9. James McDonald (2-3, 5.04) rhp

Brewers (59-68) — 1. Rickie Weeks 2b, 2. Corey Hart rf, 3. Ryan Braun lf, 4. Prince Fielder 1b, 5. Casey McGehee 3b, 6. Chris Dickerson cf, 7. Alcides Escobar ss, 8. Jonathan Lucroy c, 9. Chris Narveson (9-7, 5.69) lhp

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