Pirates push top-seeded Cardinals to brink

Mon Oct 7, 2013 11:05am EDT
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(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...

Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) returns the ball to relief pitcher Carlos Martinez (62) during the eighth inning in game three of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports