2011 World Series hero David Freese and Slippery Rock University’s Matt Adams both slammed two-run home runs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday night, leading the Cardinals to a 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fifth and decisive game of a National League Division Series, ending the Pirates’ most successful season since 1992.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, advanced to meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. The NLCS will begin Friday night in St. Louis. The Boston Red Sox will meet either Detroit or Oakland in the American League Championship Series, starting Saturday at Fenway Park in Boston.
Freese homered in the second inning off Pirates starter Gerrit Cole. Adams hit his round-tripper in a three-run eighth inning off Pittsburgh reliever Mark Melancon. Jon Jay and Pete Kozma also drove in runs for the Cards. Adams and Matt Holliday both recorded two of the nine St. Louis hits.
Four of the eight Pittsburgh hits were infield singles with three providing the Bucs’ only run in the seventh inning. The third infield hit, by Pedro Alvarez, drove in the lone Pittsburgh run and made Alvarez the first player ever to record RBI’s in all six of his first postseason games.
Marlon Byrd went 3-for-4 for the Pirates, and Justin Morneau recorded two hits.
The loss went to Cole, the Pirates’ rookie starter, although he allowed only two runs and three hits over five innings. Cole struck out five batters and walked one, and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. Cy Young Award candidate Adam Wainwright, a 19-game winner in the regular season, pitched a complete game for the victory. Wainwright gave up one run and eight hits, struck out six batters and walked one.
So, after 20 consecutive losing seasons, the Pirates posted a 94-68 regular season record in 2013, and went 3-3 in postseason play, winning the National League’s wild card game over Cincinnati before losing the NLDS 3-games-to-2 to St. Louis.