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National League Division Series Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, October 6th (All times Eastern)

St. Louis Cardinals (1-1) at Pittsburgh Pirates (2-1), 4:37 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Joe Kelly (10-5, 2.69) Pittsburgh - Francisco Liriano (16-8, 3.02)

(SportsNetwork.com) - It should be a wild scene in Pittsburgh on Sunday when the National League Division Series shifts to PNC Park for a pivotal Game 3 between the Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.

St. Louis routed the upstart Pirates in Game 1, but Pittsburgh bounced back in a big way with a 7-1 win in Game 2 to even the best-of-five series and steal home-field advantage.

Now the Bucs, who of course are back in the postseason for the first time since 1992, have all the momentum and will have their ace on the mound in Francisco Liriano, who was magnificent against the Cardinals this season, going 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in three starts.

He also held them to a .149 average.

Liriano also enjoyed his time pitching in the Steel City, as he was one of the best home pitchers in the league this season, posting a 9-1 mark with a 1.43 ERA in 12 starts at PNC after beating Cincinnati in Tuesday's wild card contest.

"I don't know what to say," Liriano said when asked about his success at PNC. "I think I've been able to execute pitches here, and the guys behind me make some great plays for me here."

Liriano resurrected his career with Pittsburgh this past season and was 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA this season.

"I know Liriano has pitched great and all that, but you never know," said veteran Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran. "Starters sometimes don't feel it, and all of a sudden, they start putting balls down the middle and the other team takes advantage of it. I know they're hoping for him to pitch a good game, and we're hoping he throws some pitches right down the middle."

Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole was certainly feeling it on Friday, as he gave up one run on two hits while striking out five for the Pirates, who bounced back from a 9-1 loss in Game 1 on Thursday.

"Well, anytime you can get a win, it's huge. But obviously to fall behind 2-0 to a team like the Cardinals is no good. Today was a huge victory for us," said Pedro Alvarez, who has homered in each of the first two games.

Alvarez, who tied for the NL lead in home runs, is the first Pirate to homer in back-to-back playoff games since Willie Stargell in the 1974 NLCS.

"Nothing better than Pedro getting his bat running hot right away," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "There is not a park he can't hit it out of. He can drive it out from line to line. He misses balls and they carry over the fence."

With six home runs this postseason, the Pirates already have the third most for any October run in team history, behind 1971 (13) and '79 (seven).

Yadier Molina hit a solo homer in the loss for the Cardinals, who saw starter Lance Lynn (0-1) allow five runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings.

"Well, I thought Lance did a pretty nice job early," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "The only time he got into trouble is when he didn't control the counts. I thought he established his off-speed pitches as well as we've seen him do that all season long. But when we got into disadvantaged counts, it was a completely different at-bat. So that was pretty consistent."

Getting the call for the Cardinals on Sunday will be right-hander Joe Kelly, who was 10-5 this season with a 3.08 ERA. Kelly, though, pitched to a 2.69 ERA in his 15 starts, which saw St. Louis go a remarkable 12-3.

"It's going to be fun. I'm going to face a good pitcher in Liriano," Kelly said.

Kelly also worked at least five innings in each of his last 15 outings and beat the Pirates twice in September.

"That's what playoff baseball is all about," said Kelly, who pitched to a 2.35 ERA in seven relief appearances in last year's postseason. "You dream about it as a little kid. It's going to be a great time. The atmosphere is going to be electric, obviously and I think our side is looking forward to it."

Pittsburgh narrowly won the season series, 10-9, but lost six of nine in St. Louis.

10/06 10:16:28 ET

TV
  • The Logan Zone

    Tomorrow at 11:30 am on WRAL-TV

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Final
NCCU 21
NCA 14
 
Final
DAVID 72
UNC 90
Final
ECU 34
TULA 6
 
Final
COL 4
CAR 3
 
Final
DUKE 70
STAN 59
 
Final
ORL 92
MIA 99
Final
IND 83
PHO 106
 
Final
NYK 91
PHI 83
Final
CLE 93
TOR 110
 
Final
HOU 95
DAL 92
Final
MIN 101
SAC 113
 
Final
SAN 99
BRK 87
 
Final
MIL 100
WAS 111
 
Final
UTA 94
NOP 106
 
Final
UGA 55
CHSO 9
Final
UF 52
EKU 3
Final
OSU 42
IND 27
Final
OKLA 44
KU 7
 
Final
UAB 18
MARS 23
Final
NEB 24
MINN 28
 
Final
PURD 14
NW 38
 
Final
ILL 16
PSU 14
Final
MSU 45
RUTG 3
Final
UCF 53
SMU 7
 
Final
SCAR 37
SALABAMA 12
Final
WKENT 45
TXSANANTO 7
 
Final
WAKE 6
VT 3
 
Final
ODU 30
LATU 27
Final
ARST 52
WASU 31
 
Final
CMICH 20
WMICH 32
 
Final
COLST 58
NMU 20
Final
LALAF 16
APPST 35
Final
BST 45
EMICH 30
Final
HOU 38
TULSA 28
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UTAH 10
ARZ 42
 
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FSU 20
BC 17
Final
UNT 17
FIU 14
 
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CLEM 28
GASTATE 0
 
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ND 28
LOU 31
 
Final
MICH 16
MD 23
 
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ARK 30
MISS 0
 
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PITT 30
SYR 7
 
Final
ISU 31
TTU 34
 
Final
ECU 34
TULA 6
 
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WISC 26
 
Final
MEM 31
SFLA 20
 
Final
CAL 17
STAN 38
 
Final
NMST 17
LAMON 30
 
Final
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COL 10
Final
MTST 35
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Final
UVA 30
MIAMI 13
 
Final
AUB 31
SAMF 7
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TENN 21
MIZZ 29
 
Final
BAY 49
OKST 28
 
Final
MSST 51
VANDY 0
 
Final
UCONN 0
CIN 41
 
Final
UCLA 38
USC 20
 
2nd
WYO 7
BSU 28
 
2nd
NEV 14
FRES 21
 
2nd
WASH 17
ORST 7
 
2nd
HAW 7
UNLV 14
 
Final
PRIN 68
INCWORD 79
 
Final
UMASS 68
ND 81
Final
GEOR 80
RMU 66
 
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LAS 59
PETE 50
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VT 63
APP 65
 
Final
IUPUI 71
BST 69
Final
WMICH 91
DRAK 75
 
Final
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HIGH 56
 
Final
MSST 71
UTST 63
Final
CAMP 48
COL 54
 
Final
DAVID 72
UNC 90
Final
NIOWA 66
UNF 49
 
Final
CSNO 79
SAMF 72
 
Final
YALE 61
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
NEV 50
CLEM 59
Final
PROV 80
FSU 54
 
Final
MARQ 89
NEOM 97
Final
DET 66
SALA 53
 
Final
TXSA 80
TXST 67
 
Final
CHIST 75
TRINCHRIS 52
 
Final
UMO 63
LIB 52
 
Final
BONA 59
CAN 53
 
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SAV 87
CLST 83
 
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NW 68
ELON 67
 
Final
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MDES 53
 
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SEMIZ 74
 
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WSCO 60
 
Final
YOUNG 82
LONG 72
 
Final
MTST 66
SOUTH 48
 
Final
ARKLR 73
UMKC 68
Final
ABCHRIST 81
DUQ 102
 
Final
WEBER 58
LSU 72
 
Final
BUT 80
GHND 39
 
Final
CSFU 70
SJST 66
 
Final
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SD 68
Final
NORST 76
TXSOU 66
 
Final
COOK 42
TOWS 63
 
Final
SILL 46
YALE 53
 
Final
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ALCOR 80
 
Final
MAN 78
BING 63
 
Final
JVST 88
MILES 71
 
Final
CSOU 79
WRST 86
 
Final
CITA 81
BOBJONES 50
 
Final
INDST 78
BRO 66
 
Final
WYO 56
COL 33
 
Final
GSOUT 97
FCCOL 41
 
Final
CCAR 76
PIEDINT 33
 
Final
LATU 63
AMER 44
 
Final
MAR 62
ARMY 76
 
Final
TENT 69
CHAT 67
Final
EKENT 115
CLERMONT 50
 
Final
SMU 77
EWASH 68
Final
NIAG 62
HART 65
 
Final
PENN 77
LAF 83
 
Final
UCSB 91
MASTERS 45
 
Final
BUCK 69
MNTER 73
 
Final
VMI 93
UNCW 110
 
Final
RIU 66
NEB 62
 
Final
NKENTUCKY 98
OHMWSTRN 48
 
Final
GTDNS 73
QUIN 76
 
Final
EMICH 70
UNCG 62
 
Final
ETST 98
UNCA 87
 
Final
TEMPL 50
UNLV 57
 
Final
STJOE 68
VERM 60
 
Final
MON 65
CCST 50
 
Final
KSU 78
ILLCH 60
 
Final
FAIR 60
SHSU 74
 
Final
LIP 74
TRANSYLVAN 63
 
Final
FUR 55
UCD 58
 
Final
WKENT 63
BEL 64
 
Final
NDST 74
HAMP 66
 
Final
IND 85
LAM 72
 
Final
TTU 80
MIZST 68
 
Final
HOU 72
MRGST 57
 
Final
NAVY 44
NE 68
 
Final
ALAAM 81
OAKW 61
 
Final
WILL 60
SELA 57
 
Final
TULA 89
SONO 45
 
Final
TXPA 82
A 77
 
Final
RICE 65
WMARY 69
 
Final
TXARL 87
HOUB 69
 
Final
MINN 69
UMBC 51
 
Final
UTEP 77
NMST 76
 
Final
GONZ 109
STTHOM 55
Final
SUTAH 75
WLVRN 85
 
Final
PBY 49
MORE 69
 
Final
DUKE 70
STAN 59
 
Final
WISC 78
BSU 54
 
Final
PORT 75
SIUE 53
 
Final
OTT 2
STL 3
Final
WAS 1
BUF 2
 
Final
PHI 4
CLB 2
Final
TOR 4
DET 1
 
Final
TAM 2
MIN 1
 
Final
BOS 0
MON 2
 
Final
NYI 4
PIT 1
 
Final
NAS 3
FLA 2
Final
DAL 5
LOS 4
Final
COL 4
CAR 3
 
2nd Intermission
EDM 0
CHI 6
 
2nd Intermission
CAL 1
NJD 3
 
2nd
SJS 1
ARI 2
 
Final
NCCU 21
NCA 14