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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

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0
 
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
KAN 2
DET 3
Final
CHC 8
LOS 7
Final
OAK 0
PHI 3
Final
NYY 3
TOR 6
Final
COL 5
ARI 1
Final
BAL 7
BOS 2
Final
PIT 0
MIL 1
Final
TAM 3
CWS 1
Final
MIN 3
CLE 7
Final
ATL 2
NYM 4
Final
HOU 10
SEA 1
Final
MIA 2
WAS 3
Final
STL 8
CIN 4
Final
SDP 3
SFG 2
Final
ANA 8
TEX 5
1:05pm Today
NYY
TOR
 
1:10pm Today
MIA
WAS
 
1:35pm Today
BAL
BOS
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
 
1:35pm Today
ATL
NYM
 
1:40pm Today
TAM
CWS
 
2:10pm Today
MIN
CLE
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
DET
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
SEA
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
LOS
 
3:35pm Today
ANA
TEX
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
PHI
 
4:10pm Today
COL
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
 
8:05pm Tonight
STL
CIN
 
Final
WISC 68
BGU 17
Final
MSU 73
EMICH 14
Final
VT 24
GT 27
Final
PITT 20
IOWA 24
Final
RICE 42
ODU 45
Final
UGA 66
TROY 0
Final
SYR 20
MD 34
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
COL 21
HAW 12
Final
AKR 17
MARS 48
Final
WAKE 24
ARMY 21
Final
KU 24
CMICH 10
Final
ALA 42
UF 21
Final
FIU 3
LOU 34
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
NAVY 24
RUTG 31
Final
SMU 6
TEXAM 58
Final
MICH 10
UTAH 26
Final
BYU 41
UVA 33
Final
WYO 20
FATL 19
Final
MIZZ 27
IND 31
Final
PSU 48
UMASS 7
Final
MINN 24
SJST 7
Final
ILL 42
TXST 35
Final
WASH 45
GASTATE 14
Final
SMISS 21
APPST 20
Final
TOL 34
BST 23
Final
OHIO 36
IDAHO 24
Final
CIN 31
UMO 24
Final
MEM 36
MTST 17
Final
LSU 29
MSST 34
Final
ARK 52
NILL 14
Final
ARKST 21
UTST 14
Final
SALABAMA 6
GASO 28
Final
WVU 33
OKLA 45
Final
VANDY 34
SCAR 48
Final
NEB 41
MIAMI 31
Final
NMST 35
NMU 38
Final
HOU 47
UNLV 14
Final
FSU 23
CLEM 17
Final
ARZ 49
CAL 45
Final
ORST 28
SDST 7
Final
WASU 31
OREG 38
Final
BSU 34
LALAF 9
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
5:00pm Tonight
WAS
BUF
 
6:30pm Tonight
CLB
STL
 
8:00pm Tonight
EDM
CAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
 
1:00pm Today
CLE
BAL
1:00pm Today
STL
DAL
1:00pm Today
DET
GBP
1:00pm Today
NYG
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
IND
1:00pm Today
NOS
MIN
1:00pm Today
NEP
OAK
1:00pm Today
BUF
SDC
1:00pm Today
CIN
TEN
1:00pm Today
PHI
WAS
4:05pm Today
ARI
SFX
4:25pm Today
SEA
DEN
4:25pm Today
MIA
KAN
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0