Alvarez homers, Pirates beat Blue Jays 8-7

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — Pedro Alvarez hit a three-run shot and Korean rookie Jung Ho Kang connected for his first major league homer, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday in the exhibition opener for both teams.

Alvarez’s drive came in the first inning off Aaron Sanchez after Gregory Polanco singled and Starling Marte reached on an error by new Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Sanchez, a candidate for the starting rotation, yielded four hits, five runs — two earned — and walked one in 1 1-3 innings.

Alvarez added an RBI double in the fifth. The 2013 All-Star missed the final three weeks of last season with a stress fracture in his left foot and was left off Pittsburgh’s postseason roster.

The Pirates bid $5 million for the rights to Kang then signed him to a four-year $11 million contracts. The shortstop hit 40 homers in Korea last year.