Pirates stay close with fifth straight win

Pittsburgh tied with Cincinnati in loss column
Pirates stay close with fifth straight win

Jeff Karstens pitched seven crisp innings, Pedro Alvarez homered, and the surging Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Miami Marlins 3-0 on Sunday for their fifth consecutive win.

Pittsburgh completed its fourth sweep of the season — all at home — while matching its longest winning streak since Sept. 17-22, 2010. The Pirates (54-40) remained a half-game behind NL Central-leading Cincinnati.

Miami has lost five straight, scoring a total of seven runs during the slide.

Alvarez’s fourth homer in his last six games and No. 21 for the season came after Casey McGehee led off the seventh with a double, making it 3-0.

Karstens (3-2) allowed five hits, Jared Hughes worked a perfect eighth, and Joel Hanrahan retired the Marlins in order for his 28th save in 31 opportunities.