Pirates push top-seeded Cardinals to brink
(Reuters) - The wild card Pittsburgh Pirates beat top seeds St. Louis 5-3 on Sunday to move within one victory of reaching the National League Championship Series (NLCS).
The Pirates, playing in the postseason for the first time in 21 years, rewarded their success-starved fans at rocking PNC Park by taking a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five National League Division Series.
"Unbelievable," catcher Russell Martin said of the constant roar from the crowd of more than 40,000 at the sold-out stadium.
"Pittsburgh's really coming strong. We love it. We want to keep it going."
The Pirates can clinch a berth in the best-of-seven NLCS, which produces the National League representative for the World Series, when they host Game Four on Monday.
St. Louis tied the taut contest 3-3 on a home run by slugger Carlos Beltran in the eighth inning. The blast was Beltran's 16th career home run in the postseason.
But Pittsburgh came right back with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning on RBI singles by Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin.
Alvarez delivered his go-ahead hit off of rookie left-handed reliever Kevin Siegrist, who pitched to a remarkable 0.45 earned run average in just under 40 innings during the regular season.
"He's a pretty good pitcher," the left-handed hitting Alvarez said about Siegrist. "He's got good stuff. I had to be ready to hit and put good contact on the ball." Continued...