"The level of focus and intensity is the same," he said. "You just try to treat the game the same pitch by pitch."
Yet Alvarez seems to make the pitcher-friendly ballpark play more like a bandbox.
Clubbing his 10th career homer in St. Louis on Thursday night during a seven-run first inning, Alvarez helped Pittsburgh salvage the finale of a three-game series with a 10-5 decision over the Cardinals.
In snapping an eight-game losing streak in St. Louis that dated to July 10, 2014, the Pirates (66-46) cut the Cardinals' National League Central lead to six games and maintained a 1 1/2-game lead over the surging Chicago Cubs for the first wild-card spot.
Alvarez's 433-foot blast over the center field wall with shortstop Jung Ho Kang aboard in the first was his 18th career homer against the Cardinals since 2010, more than any player has hit against them during that span. His 57 RBIs against St. Louis are his most against any opponent.
It was part of the worst start of Lance Lynn's career. The Cardinals right-hander lasted two-thirds of an inning, giving up six hits and seven runs, just three of which were earned thanks to a two-base throwing error by third baseman Matt Carpenter.
While St. Louis played shoddy defense in the first, as right fielder Jason Heyward lost a fly ball in the sun and center fielder Peter Bourjos got turned around twice on a triple by second baseman Neil Walker, Lynn (9-7) knew who to blame.
"It was terrible, plain and simple," Lynn said. "You give up seven runs and don't get out of the first inning, that's a poor effort. Next time, I've got to be better and I will be."
The Cardinals (73-41) spent the remainder of the night trying to excavate themselves from Lynn's crater, and almost succeeded. Catcher Yadier Molina singled home two runs in the first, and a fielder's choice grounder by second baseman Kolten Wong in the sixth made it 7-3.
In the seventh, Molina followed an RBI single by Jhonny Peralta with a sacrifice fly, and St. Louis was within 7-5 with the tying runs on base for Wong. But reliever Tony Watson fanned Wong, then worked a clean eighth to calm things down.
Pittsburgh sealed the outcome in the ninth with three runs. Walker lashed an RBI double for his third hit of the night, followed by a double-play ball from Kang and a pinch-single by Aramis Ramirez that scored center fielder Andrew McCutchen.
It was just the fourth win in the Pirates' last 22 games in St. Louis, dating to August 2013.
"You keep playing the game," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "The game doesn't know the game's important. We didn't play well the first two nights and we lost 4-3 and 4-2. Our guys responded very well tonight."
Pirates starter Francisco Liriano (8-6) worked in and out of trouble for a good chunk of his six innings, giving up six hits and three runs with four walks and five strikeouts. He might have been affected by the lengthy delay between warming up in the bullpen and going to the mound for the first after his teammates' explosion.
"I was trying too hard, trying to do too much," Liriano said. "I just tried to calm myself down and throw my pitches."
Thanks to Alvarez's latest big game in St. Louis, Liriano didn't have to be at his best for Pittsburgh to emerge with a crucial win.
"I thought we stuck with the game plan and came up ready to hit," Alvarez said. "We got good pitches we could drive."
NOTES: Pittsburgh LF Starling Marte (left hand) didn't start Thursday night as Travis Ishikawa replaced him in the lineup, batting seventh. Marte left Wednesday night's game after the top of the third, complaining of discomfort. ... St. Louis C Yadier Molina's steal of third in the eighth inning Wednesday night was just the 43rd of his career, but his 10th in 13 attempts at third. ... The Cardinals entered Thursday night at 33 games over .500, the first time they've been to that point since 2005.