The way Pirates manager Clint Hurdle sees it, Pedro Alvarez never has been better.

Look past the .229 batting average, because it doesn't really tell the story. Focus instead on Alvarez's gaudy 1.027 on-base plus slugging percentage. Take note of his patience and pitch selection. Marvel at his power to all fields.

“This is the best place he's been in since I've been here,” Hurdle said Thursday after Alvarez's three-run homer lifted the Pirates to an improbable 5-4 victory against the Chicago Cubs.

The Pirates erased a four-run deficit by scoring five times in the seventh inning. It started with a two-run, pinch-hit homer by Travis Snider.

After Starling Marte singled and Andrew McCutchen walked, the Cubs brought in left-handed reliever James Russell to face Alvarez.

“I was just trying to be ready to hit as soon as I stepped in the box,” Alvarez said. “Sometimes, that first pitch is the best one you're going to see.”

In this case, it was.

Alvarez's homer traveled 446 feet to center field, crash-landing above the batter's eye. According to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, it's the longest blast at Wrigley Field since a 449-foot shot Sept. 16, 2012.