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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

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
MIA 94
CHA 93
Final
MIA 94
CHA 93
Final
MEM 107
LAC 91
Final
BOS 88
POR 94
Final
OKC 86
GSW 91
3rd
LAL 75
DEN 72
 
Final
GMAS 60
COC 61
Final
FSU 69
UMASS 75
Final
SHSU 53
WOFF 64
Final
UNCG 67
YOUNG 76
Final
CMICH 75
ARKPB 43
 
Final
ILLCH 60
SILL 67
Final
MORE 46
AMER 51
Final
CORN 59
DREX 61
Final
CCST 60
COOK 65
Final
ARKLR 94
CSNO 88
Final
LEH 44
CLMB 54
 
Final
USB 89
MERMAR 54
 
Final
NMU 51
TEXAM 64
Final
STLU 56
TAMCC 62
 
Final
FAIR 80
SD 72
Final
EMICH 79
LONG 48
Final
ND 74
PROV 75
Final
RAD 88
CATAWBA 52
 
Final
DEN 80
COPST 54
 
Final
UAB 58
JST 50
 
Final
WICHS 105
NWM 57
Final
OKLA 90
NWST 68
Final
KSU 59
YALE 66
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
UCR 102
STKAT 49
 
Final
PSU 63
USC 61
Final
HC 101
NICHOLSCOL 70
 
Final
BC 53
DAY 65
Final
MON 75
TOWS 79
Final
HOF 93
WAGN 71
 
Final
CIN 54
EILL 49
Final
UGA 74
FATL 61
Final
BRAD 58
NCAT 50
 
Final
LATU 76
PBY 48
Final
RUTG 76
Terriers 73
 
Final
SAMF 64
UMKC 55
Final
NAVY 70
BING 68
Final
SHU 85
GWEBB 67
Final
UNT 58
IONA 78
Final
KENT 86
MNTST 28
Final
FORD 57
MLOWELL 64
 
Final
UCF 76
USCU 69
 
Final
SCAR 63
AKR 68
Final
WVU 78
UCONN 68
Final
CALST 70
DEL 52
 
Final
HOW 78
HOOD 51
 
Final
OSU 106
SHU 48
Final
VANDY 78
TENST 46
Final
NE 65
MAN 51
Final
COLST 75
MERC 62
Final
MISS 80
NARZ 74
Final
WASH 76
PAC 69
 
Final
LMU 82
SDCHR 60
 
Final
CHAR 58
MIAMI 77
 
Final
GAELS 72
UCI 69
 
Final
ILLST 64
ODU 45
 
2nd
UCLA 52
LBSU 40
 
1st
SEAT 29
MONT 28
 
Final
WIN 2
STL 4
Final
NYR 5
MON 0
Final
ANA 2
ARI 1
2nd Intermission
VAN 1
CHI 1
 
Final
HOU 13
CIN 22
Final
ATL 24
CLE 26
Final
NEP 34
DET 9
Final
MIN 21
GBP 24
Final
IND 23
JAC 3
Final
CHI 21
TAM 13
Final
PHI 43
TEN 24
Final
SEA 19
ARI 3
Final
SDC 27
STL 24
Final
DEN 39
MIA 36
Final
SFX 17
WAS 13
4th
NYG 21
DAL 24