McCutchen hit his first home run in over a month, doubled twice and scored two runs to help the Pirates beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 on Sunday and take three of four from the defending NL West champions.
"It's good that we were able to get three out of four against a really good team here in L.A.," McCutchen said. "We haven't done that in a long time, so it's a step in the right direction, definitely."
Alvarez drove in three runs against Zack Greinke and Josh Harrison homered against Chris Perez, helping the Pirates win for the eighth time in 12 games. The last time they captured a series at Chavez Ravine was in September 2006, when they took two of three under then manager Jim Tracy.
"We've been out here a lot and not done a whole lot. So it was a big thing for us -- because we flat-out believe we can play," skipper Clint Hurdle said. "We needed to knock this off our 'to-do' list, and we were able to. We knew what we were facing here, and we outpitched them for three of the four days. We played three really clean ballgames. We have confidence and we have enough edge and grit, and I think it showed up this weekend."
Edinson Volquez (3-4) allowed two runs and five hits over five innings, striking out six and walking one.
"You've got to stay focused on what you're doing, especially against those guys because they have a good lineup," Volquez said. "You can't make a lot of mistakes against them, especially with Greinke because he's one of the best pitchers in the National League. Tonight I had better fastball command than I did in New York, so I was able to throw more strikes and keep the fastball down."
Jason Grilli, the fifth Pirates pitcher, got three outs for his eighth save and third of the series after giving up a pair of two-out walks and an RBI single by pinch hitter Scott Van Slyke. It was the Dodgers only hit after Justin Turner's solo homer with one out in the fourth.
Greinke (8-2) gave up a season-worst four runs and five hits in seven innings and struck out seven.
"He's an ultra-competitor, and to beat him, you've got to outcompete him," Hurdle said. "We laid off some tight pitches, we worked some counts, got his pitch count up, then we hit some pitches we were able to handle and got the barrel on them. But that was the plan coming in. I mean, you give him strike one and he can cut you up three different ways. So we just tried to be as aggressive as he was. We were looking for fastballs early, and his location played into it."
"McCutchen did a lot against us," manager Don Mattingly said. "Obviously the kid at third base (Alvarez) had a couple of big hits, too, and had some good at-bats. Zack had been fairly successful against him."
McCutchen, whose 21 homers, 84 RBIs and .317 average last season helped the Pirates end a 20-year playoff drought, made it 3-1 in the third with his fifth homer and first since April 23. The RBI was the first for the reigning NL MVP after a drought of nine games and 33 at-bats since his run-scoring single against Washington's Blake Treinen on May 22.
"I haven't been hitting the ball the way I knew I could be, so tonight was a good start for myself," said McCutchen, who came in 4-for-21 against Greinke with two RBIs. "Just being ready to hit was the biggest key, and getting pitches to hit. I've been a little late, probably because my timing's been off on off-speed pitches. So tonight I got myself in a hitting position and was ready to fire. And when I got a good pitch to hit I was able to put the barrel on it."
Harrison, who was 7-for-17 in the series, hit his fourth homer in the seventh for the Pirates' final run.
Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig had two hits and has reached base in 33 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors. ... RHP Bryan Morris, who gave up Hanley Ramirez's second homer of the game in Saturday's 12-2 Pirates loss, was traded to the Miami Marlins for the 39th overall pick in Thursday's draft. RHP Casey Sadler was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis, where he was 6-1 with a 2.66 ERA in eight starts.