The Pittsburgh Pirates, playing their first postseason game since 1992, defeated the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, 6-2. Behind starting pitcher Francisco Liriano and a revved up, sell out crowd at PNC Park the Pirates controlled the game from the very first pitch. With the victory, the Pirates punched their ticket to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals in a best of five NLDS series that will pit two division rivals against one another.
Francisco Liriano threw seven innings and allowed only one run to score on four hits and a walk while striking out five. He had his full arsenal of pitches working and got the Reds to hit into 14 ground ball outs on the evening. The relatively stress free outing also took only 90 pitches from the big lefty and sets the Pirates up quite nicely for the next round of the playoffs.
The Pirates were led offensively by Marlon Byrd, who homered in his first ever postseason at bat in the bottom of the third, and two home runs from catcher Russell Martin. The Pirates also received help from the likes of Neil Walker, who pitched in an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth and Pedro Alvarez who hit an RBI sac fly in the third.
Meanwhile, the Reds came in looking just as flat as they had been to end the season. They did little offensively to make thing uncomfortable for Francisco Liriano. All-Stars Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips also combined to go 0 for 8 with two strikeouts from Votto.
Former Indian Shin-Soo Choo provided a spark at the top of the lineup going 1 for 3 with a home run and two runs scored.
The Pirates will travel to St. Louis to begin their best of five series against the Cardinals on Thursday. The first pitch is schedule for 5:07 PM Eastern time. A.J. Burnett will take the mound for the Pirates against Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.