National League Game Summary - Pittsburgh at St. Louis|
(Wednesday, October 9th)
Final Score: St. Louis 6, Pittsburgh 1
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - David Freese conjured up his postseason
heroics from two years ago and Adam Wainwright went the distance to send the
St. Louis Cardinals back to the NLCS for the third straight year.
Freese, the MVP of the 2011 World Series, belted an early two-run homer and
Matt Adams added another one late as the Cardinals rolled to a 6-1 victory
over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a decisive Game 5 of the NLDS.
St. Louis won the last two games of the series on the backs of strong starting
pitching. Michael Wacha took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of Monday's
tight 2-1 victory, and Wainwright (2-0) followed the rookie's stellar
performance with one of his own, scattering eight hits -- all singles -- with
a walk and six strikeouts.
"The last two games they kept us off the plate. We had two runs in 18
innings...so we tip our hat to the Cardinals," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle
The NL Central champs, who are 8-1 in postseason elimination games over the
past three years, will have home-field advantage over the Los Angeles
Dodgers in the NLCS, with Game 1 scheduled for Friday.
The Pirates, looking for their first postseason series win 1979, tabbed rookie
Gerrit Cole as their starter rather than Game 1 loser A.J. Burnett. Cole (1-1)
threw five solid innings, but was done in by Freese's second-inning homer.
Jon Jay kept the frame going by working an eight-pitch walk after being down
in the count. Cole was also ahead of Freese but missed his spot on a 1-2
slider, and Freese sent the mistake into the bullpen beyond the left-field
wall for his seventh career postseason homer.
"It was a great feeling," Freese said of his homer. "We were fortunate to get
on the board early."
Cole solved Freese in the fourth inning by catching him looking at strike
three to strand runners on the corners, this after Adams was tagged out in a
rundown between third and home.
Needing an offensive spark since they mustered just two baserunners through
five innings, the Pirates pinch-hit for Cole after Clint Barmes led off the
sixth with a base hit.
Garrett Jones, however, flew out harmlessly coming off the bench, and Starling
Marte bounced into a routine double play to end the inning.
St. Louis tacked on against Pittsburgh's bullpen in the bottom half. Matt
Holliday reached on a one-out single and moved to second when Yadier Molina
worked a two-out walk. Jay followed with a dribbler up the middle that got
through the infield, and Holliday scored without a play at the plate.
Freese struck out again to leave two on, and the Pirates finally got to
Wainwright in the next half-inning -- albeit with three consecutive two-out
singles that never left the infield.
Justin Morneau started the string by narrowly beating Matt Carpenter's throw
from second, and Marlon Byrd legged out a ground ball to short after Pete
Kozma opted against an easier force out at second.
Pedro Alvarez benefited from a generous bounce to keep his RBI streak intact.
His chopper down the first-base line hit the bag and arced over Adams' head.
Even though Carpenter backed up the play, Alvarez easily made it to first and
Morneau raced around for Pittsburgh's first run.
Wainwright shook off the tough break and retired Russell Martin on a fielder's
choice, then erased a one-out single in the eighth by getting Marte to line
into a twin-killing.
Adams gave the Cardinals some breathing room in their half of the eighth.
After Holliday reached on a single, Adams crushed a no-doubter into the right-
field seats off Mark Melancon to give the hosts a 5-1 cushion.
Kozma delivered another insurance run with an RBI single, and Wainwright
survived a pair of two-out base hits in the ninth by striking out Alvarez to
finish off his gem.
"To pitch a game like that is one of highlights of my baseball life, no
doubt," Wainwright said. "These are the kind of moments starting pitchers live
St. Louis will make its 12th appearance in the NLCS ... This was Wainwright's
first complete game in the playoffs; he led the majors with five during the
regular season ... Wainwright has won his last six decisions and improved to
3-0 with a 1.26 ERA over his last four playoff starts in St. Louis ... Alvarez
is the first player in MLB history to have an RBI in each of his first six
playoff games ... Marte and Neil Walker, the first two hitters in Pittsburgh's
lineup, went a combined 1-for-38 in the series after going 0-for-7 Wednesday
... Pittsburgh rookie starting pitchers had been 6-0 in postseason play.
10/09 23:42:39 ET