In their first postseason game in 21 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates slammed three home runs in a 6-2 elimination win over the Cincinnati Reds played Tuesday night before a record standing room-only crowd of 40,487 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The victory moves the Pirates to a best-of-five National League Division Series against the Cardinals with the first game to be played Thursday at 5:07 PM (EDT) at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Russell Martin homered twice for Pittsburgh, and Marlon Byrd homered in his first-ever postseason at-bat. All three home runs were solo shots, and gave the Bucs 11 round-trippers in their last 3 games. Byrd drove home two runs, Neil Walker doubled home a run and Pedro Alvarez earned an RBI with a sacrifice fly.
Martin went 3-for-4, while Walker, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen each recorded two of the Pirates’ 13 hits. Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano, who posted a 16-8 record during the regular season, allowed one run and scattered four hits over seven innings to earn the win. Liriano struck out five hitters, hit one and walked one. Tony Watson and Jason Grilli both pitched one inning of relief.
Former Pirate Ryan Ludwick tallied half of the Reds’ six hits. Shin-Soo Choo homered off Watson, while Jay Bruce singled home the first Cincinnati run. Reds starter Johnny Cueto, who had previously posted an 8-2 record at PNC Park, was pulled from the game after three-and-a-third innings and took the loss. Cueto allowed four runs (3 earned) and seven hits, walked one batter and did not record a strikeout.
The Pirates will enter the NLDS with four consecutive wins, and eight victories in their last 11 games. After posting 90 regular season wins, the Reds closed with six straight losses — the last four to Pittsburgh.