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National League Division Series Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, October 7th (All times Eastern)

St. Louis Cardinals (1-2) at Pittsburgh Pirates (3-1), 3:07 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78) Pittsburgh - Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.26)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The atmosphere inside PNC Park has been incredible this postseason. It may get even crazier on Monday, as the Pirates try to win their first postseason series in 34 years when they play Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Pittsburgh lost in the NL Championship Series three straight years from 1990-92 and hasn't advanced in a series since the "We Are Family" Pirates won the World Series in 1979.

"You have to continue to earn your way here, especially late in the postseason -- not much is given to you," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We'll have an opportunity to go out at home and win a ballgame. Obviously if that happens, we'll be in a much better place moving forward."

Pittsburgh grabbed the advantage in the best-of-five set on Sunday, as Pedro Alvarez hit a go-ahead RBI single in a two-run eighth inning to carry the Pirates to a 5-3 win.

Russell Martin also had an RBI single in the eighth after Carlos Beltran tied the game for the Cardinals with his second home run of the series in the top of the inning.

"Right now we're playing good baseball, pretty much like we have all year long," said Martin. "So ... the confidence level is high. And the stakes couldn't be any higher."

History appears to be on the side of the Pirates, as teams that have taken a 2-1 lead into Game 4 of a Division Series have advanced to the League Championship Series round 35 times in 43 opportunities, 17 of 20 in the NLDS.

Among the three teams that came back from a 2-1 deficit in the NLDS: the 2011 Cardinals, who bounced back against the Phillies, winning Game 4 at home before taking the series on the road.

"It's a must-win (game) for us," said Beltran, who continued his postseason prowess Sunday. "Hopefully we can come here, take care of business, win and go play the last game at home."

Beltran drove in all three runs on Sunday for the Cardinals and had tied the game in the eighth with a solo home run. Beltran now has 20 RBI in 16 Division Series games and his home run was his 16th in the postseason, moving him past Babe Ruth and putting him in sole possession of eighth place on the all-time list.

It will be right-hander Charlie Morton's job to slow him down on Monday. Morton worked his way back from Tommy John surgery to go 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA. However, he got better as the year went on and was 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA over his final 11 starts.

He also pitched to a 2.14 ERA over his last five starts at PNC.

"I've never seen him as confident as he's been this year," Hurdle said. "He's pitched extremely well from time to time, given us some good games. The confidence on the mound, standing on the rubber, is at a high for him."

Morton, though, struggled mightily against the Cards, going 0-2 with a 7.90 ERA in three starts. St. Louis has actually given him trouble his whole career, as he is just 2-9 against it with a 6.52 ERA in 14 starts.

"Anybody would like to believe that from failure, you take something," Morton said. "And I think that's true with anybody, whether it's a season or a span of starts or it's one start. So there are things that I'm going to take from it and I'm going to learn from, but I'm not going to try to reinvent the wheel because I had a couple of bad games against them.

St. Louis, meanwhile, will turn to rookie Michael Wacha, who pitched to a 1.72 ERA in five September starts and came within one out of a no-hitter in his final start back on Sept. 24.

"It's definitely been a crazy past year," Wacha said. "Whenever I came to Spring Training this past season, the goal was to get up here to St. Louis and help them win some ballgames. So I wouldn't really say whenever I was in college my junior year that I would ever have thought of this. But I just look at it as an opportunity to take advantage of. I'm really excited about being able to pitch in the postseason."

Wacha actually got the better of Morton back on Sept. 8 when he tossed seven scoreless innings to get the win.

Pittsburgh narrowly won the season series, 10-9.

St. Louis is 3-8 at PNC Park this year.

10/07 10:19:20 ET

  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Arkansas at Florida

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Waste Management Phoenix Open

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Kentucky at Missouri

    Tomorrow at 9:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. St. Louis

    Friday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
ND 77
DUKE 73
Final
SAN 95
CHA 86
Final
NCSU 57
CLEM 68
Final
MEM 70
ECU 58
Final
PHI 89
DET 69
Final
CLE 99
POR 94
Final
TOR 119
SAC 102
Final
MIN 110
BOS 98
Final
ATL 113
BRK 102
Final
HOU 99
DAL 94
Final
NOP 85
DEN 93
Final
NYK 100
OKC 92
Final
SAN 95
CHA 86
Final
UTA 89
LAC 94
Half
PHO 56
WAS 39
 
Final
VERM 44
GTDNS 47
 
Final
NAVY 64
AMER 54
 
Final
UMBC 56
BING 68
 
Final
JMU 88
DEL 82
 
Final
RICH 86
DUQ 55
Final
UNCW 82
ELON 65
 
Final
USB 72
HART 66
 
Final
WMARY 100
HOF 79
 
Final
COL 54
LAF 59
 
Final
PSU 63
MINN 58
Final
MAINE 58
UNH 63
 
Final
DREX 65
NE 60
 
Final
FORD 63
RIU 64
Final
SFLA 52
SMU 63
Final
MARQ 70
SHU 80
Final
LSU 64
SCAR 58
Final
UCF 62
TEMPL 86
Final
LONG 64
UNCA 74
 
Final
FSU 82
WAKE 76
Final
CCAR 68
WINT 75
 
Final
OU 84
WRST 76
 
Final
ND 77
DUKE 73
7:30pm Tonight
GHND 0
HC 0
 
Final
CSOU 77
RAD 84
 
Final
OKLA 81
TTU 36
Final
BRAD 57
DRAK 69
 
Final
BUCK 68
LEH 62
 
Final
WICHS 58
LOYC 47
Final
ILLST 67
MIZST 57
 
Final
PEAY 69
MORE 82
 
Final
SDKST 86
NEOM 64
 
Final
ARST 73
ORST 55
Final
HOU 59
RICE 48
Final
SILL 52
NIOWA 59
Final
NCSU 57
CLEM 68
Final
MEM 70
ECU 58
Final
MIAMI 50
GT 70
Final
PURD 83
IND 67
 
Final
TCU 61
KU 64
 
Final
BC 72
LOU 81
 
Final
MISS 79
MSST 73
Final
CREI 77
STJ 74
2nd
SJST 46
AFA 56
 
2nd
ARZ 75
OREG 52
 
1st
WASH 20
STAN 29
 
Final
NJD 2
TOR 1
Final
WAS 4
PIT 0