Locke tries to lead the visiting Pirates to a season-high fifth consecutive win Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game set against the Seattle Mariners .
Alvarez homered for the fourth straight game before Pittsburgh (46-30) scored a combined seven runs in the ninth and 10th innings during Sunday's 10-9 road win over the Los Angeles Angels .
"I got to hang out in the air conditioning in here for about six innings, so I felt fresh when I got out there," said Russell Martin , who went 2 for 2 with two RBIs after coming on as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. "But our guys battled back and had great ABs collectively, top to bottom, and it was fun to be a part of. We have no quit, that's for sure."
The Pirates, averaging 6.5 runs during the win streak, went 6 for 16 with runners in scoring position Sunday. Pittsburgh has won four straight three times but hasn't posted five consecutive victories since July 17-22.
"When those guys get guys on base, they take advantage," Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen said. "That's why they're playing as well as they are."
Much of the Pirates' recent success can be attributed to Alvarez. The slugging third baseman has raised his average 25 points to .237 while going 13 for 33 with five homers and 13 RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.
Alvarez, whose nine home runs since June 2 rank second in the majors, will try to become the first Pirate to homer in five straight games since Jose Castillo from May 26-31, 2006.
Locke (6-1, 2.01 ERA), meanwhile, has shined on the mound. The NL leader in ERA is 6-0 with a 1.73 ERA over 14 starts since taking the loss in his season debut April 7, giving up one or zero runs in six of his last seven outings.
Locke yielded four hits over seven scoreless innings Wednesday in a 2-1, 13-inning loss at Cincinnati. The left-hander has received an average of 2.59 runs of support in his last nine starts.
"I know that I've got guys here I got to do my best to take care of, because they're taking care of me," he told MLB's official website.
Locke will try to quiet a Mariners team coming off a thrilling victory of its own, 6-3 over Oakland on Sunday. Raul Ibanez hit a pair of homers before Kendrys Morales delivered a pinch-hit game-winning three-run shot in the 10th inning.
Ibanez is hitting .288 with six homers and 12 RBIs in his last 13 games.
"I'm just trying to hit the ball on the barrel and things are working out," he said.
The Mariners (34-43) now turn to Joe Saunders (5-7, 4.48), who dropped to 2-2 with a 1.82 ERA over a five-start stretch after going the distance in Wednesday's 1-0 loss at Los Angeles.
"Joe was good," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "His fastball had a little more life than a couple years ago, so he's feeling pretty good right now and he pitched a strong game for those guys."
Saunders also thrived in two starts against the Pirates while with Arizona last year, winning both while compiling a 1.93 ERA. He'll need to be careful against Gaby Sanchez , who is 6 for 12 with a homer in their matchups.
|June 09, 2013||A.J. Burnett||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
|June 06, 2013||Jared Hughes||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 06, 2013||Wandy Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Left forearm tightness|
|June 03, 2013||Phil Irwin||60-Day DL||Right arm fatigue|
|June 03, 2013||Jeanmar Gomez||15-Day DL||Right forearm tightness|
|May 28, 2013||Jose Contreras||15-Day DL||Lower back inflammation|
|June 24, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|June 21, 2013||Michael Morse||15-Day DL||Strained right quad|
|June 18, 2013||Michael Morse||Day-to-Day||Sore right quad|
|June 08, 2013||Kendrys Morales||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|June 06, 2013||Jesus Sucre||15-Day DL||Left wrist sprain|
|June 04, 2013||Jesus Sucre||Day-to-Day||Left game - left wrist injury|
SEATTLE (AP) -- Starling Marte got the Pirates started with a triple - and it only got better after that.
Marte hit two of Pittsburgh's five home runs and Jeff Locke pitched seven sharp innings to lead the Pirates past the Seattle Mariners 9-4 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory.
Marte opened the game with a triple and hit solo shots in the second and eighth for the first multihomer game of his career.
"We had some power jump out there tonight," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
Pittsburgh (47-30) moved 17 games over .500 for the first time since the end of 1992, its last winning season. The Pirates peaked at 62-46 last year before fading to a 17-37 finish.
Locke (7-1) limited Seattle to two runs and four hits, leaving him tied for second in the National League with a 2.06 ERA. He struck out four and walked two.
"Probably had the lightest stuff he's had all season. But at the end of the day, looking at his numbers, he still found a way to keep the game in check," Hurdle said.
Brandon Inge hit a three-run shot in the second inning, his first home run since last August. Russell Martin and Gaby Sanchez also went deep for the Pirates in their first five-homer game since July 22, 2009, against Milwaukee.
It was the second time this season the Mariners have allowed five long balls. Houston connected five times on April 9.
"They always say that hitting is contagious. It's true, when one guys goes, another one goes," Inge said. "It's something we just rolled with."
Kyle Seager hit his 10th home run in the sixth for the Mariners. It was the sixth that Locke has allowed this season, first by a left-handed hitter.
Justin Smoak added a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth off Bryan Morris .
Marte rattled his first-inning triple into the right-field corner and scored on Jordy Mercer 's groundout.
That was as much damage as Mariners lefty Joe Saunders (5-8) allowed in his previous start Wednesday at the Los Angeles Angels , when he gave up his only run on a wild pitch in a complete-game, 1-0 loss.
Saunders couldn't complete two innings this time as the Pirates chased him with five runs in the second.
"It was just a bad night for him," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "They came in swinging the bats. He just made some mistakes and some of those don't come back."
Martin opened the inning with his home run to center, his eighth. With one out, Tony Sanchez singled and Neil Walker walked. Inge, with two hits in his previous 32 at-bats, connected for a three-run shot to left on a 2-2 pitch for his first homer since Aug. 1 with Oakland against Tampa Bay.
"I don't like zeros in that stat," Inge said. "Just get that one out of the way. Now I can relax and do my normal swing. A lot of times when you're trying to hit home runs, especially me, it doesn't work."
One pitch later, Marte homered to right-center.
"Bad start, bad start. All nine hitters, the ball was up in the zone and down the middle of the plate," Saunders said. "I could go on and on. Just a bad one."
After Andrew McCutchen 's two-out double, Blake Beavan replaced Saunders, who is 10-3 in 17 starts at Safeco Field. His ERA at the park rose from 2.31 to 2.80.
"I think it was a lack of execution, and he'll be the first to tell you," Hurdle said. "We saw his 1-0 complete game. We've seen him effective many times. Making the pitch he needed to or wanted wasn't really there. It happens up here."
The Mariners scored a run in the second on Carlos Triunfel 's two-out single to center. Seager opened the sixth with his home run to right on a 2-1 pitch from Locke.
Marte hit his eighth homer with two outs in the eighth on the first pitch from Carter Capps . Sanchez hit his seventh in the ninth off Capps.
NOTES: The last time Saunders worked just 1 2-3 innings was Aug. 7, 2009, with the Angels against the Rangers. His career low is two-thirds of an inning on Sept. 30, 2006, with the Angels against the A's. ... The Pirates have had eight scheduled days off this season, including one Monday. They are 8-0 in the first game after an off day. ... Before the game, the Mariners placed CF Franklin Gutierrez on the 15-day disabled list (strained right hamstring) and recalled OF-2B Dustin Ackley from Triple-A Tacoma.