It was a back-and-forth Game 3 between the Pirates and the Cardinals but ultimately it was the Pirates riding a 2-run rally bottom of the 8th to a 5-3 win and a 2-1 lead in this National League Division Series.
Pirates’ starter Francisco Liriano (2 ER in 6 IP), who dominated the Cardinals during the regular season, was shaky but effective enough to keep his team in the game. The same could be said for Cardinals’ starter Joe Kelly (3 R, 2 ER in 5 1/3 IP).
The Pirates scored two runs in the top of the 1st inning on a Marlon Byrd single, an opportunity that was set up by a 2-out throwing error by shortstop Pete Kozma.
Kelly partially knocked down a Justin Morneau ground ball back up the middle and a charging Kozma threw wildly to first, leaving runners on 2nd and 3rd for Byrd who ultimately delivered. The score remained 2-0 in favor of Pittsburgh until the top of the 5th inning.
Carlos Beltran singled with runners on second and third, tying the game 2-2. Pittsburgh regained the lead in the bottom of the 6th inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Russell Martin and the score stayed 3-2 until the top of the 8th inning.
Carlos Beltran lead off the inning with a solo home run of reliever Mark Melancon, the 16th postseason homer of his career, tying the game 3-3. That home run pushed Beltran past Babe Ruth on postseason home run list. It was also the first home run allowed by Melancon since April.
The Cardinals called on rookie Carlos Martinez to start the top of the 8th inning and he allowed two base runners while recording just one out and was relieved by Kevin Siegrist when Pedro Alvarez came to the plate with runners on first and second with one out.
Alvarez singled to right, making the score 4-3 in favor of Pittsburgh, and Martin followed with an RBI single to left field leaving the score at 5-3 heading to the top of the 9th inning.
Matt Adams led off the 9th with a single to left center field but he was stranded when Jon Jay, Shane Robinson and Daniel Descalso were retired in order with none of the three hitting a ball out of the infield. Jason Grilli closed out the 5-3 win for the Pirates, who take a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 tomorrow.
Michael Wacha and Charlie Morton will be the Game 4 starters. First pitch is scheduled for 2:07 PM CT.