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MLB playoffs: Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati in NL wild-card game
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Pittsburgh • The Pittsburgh Pirates went 21 years between playoff games. The wait will be significantly shorter this time around.

Russell Martin homered twice, Francisco Liriano was dominant for seven innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates roared past Cincinnati for a 6-2 victory in the NL wild-card game Tuesday night.

In front of a black-clad crowd savoring its first postseason game since 1992, Marlon Byrd also connected and Andrew McCutchen had two hits and reached base four times for Pittsburgh.

"We're for real," McCutchen said. "We're definitely for real."

Liriano scattered four hits for the Pirates, who will face St. Louis in Game 1 of the NL division series Thursday. Liriano struck out five and walked one to win the first playoff game of his career.

"We didn't talk about one and done, we talked about one and run," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Win one and run to St. Louis."

Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto struggled in his third start since coming off the disabled list last month. Cueto gave up four runs in 31⁄3 innings and appeared rattled by a raucous ballpark that taunted him by chanting his name.

The 36-year-old Byrd, acquired by the Pirates in late August from the New York Mets, celebrated the first postseason at-bat of his 12-year career — 1,250 games — by sending Cueto's fastball into the seats to give the Pirates the lead. The shot sent another jolt through an already electric crowd, which began singing "Cue-to, Cue-to" in unison when Martin stepped in.

"This is 20 years of waiting. You're seeing it all come out in one night," Martin said. "Hopefully we can keep this atmosphere till late October."

Martin sent a drive into the bleachers in left field. The Reds never recovered, ending a 90-win season with a six-game losing streak.

Three of those losses came against Pittsburgh at Cincinnati in the final series of the season that determined the site of the win-or-die game.

Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker backed Cueto before the game, saying his ace "thrives on this environment." Maybe, but the right-hander never looked comfortable in front of the largest crowd in PNC Park history, a place where Cueto has dominated.

Cueto, who came in 8-2 at the ballpark by the Allegheny River, even lost his grip on the ball while standing on the mound.

A moment later, he lost his grip on the game.

Martin's 405-foot shot to left-center gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead and all the momentum Liriano would require.

Signed on the cheap in the offseason after a mediocre 2012 split between the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox, Liriano has been reborn in Pittsburgh. He went 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA during the regular season, his devastating slider nearly unhittable against left-handers. —

Playoffs

Wild card

Wednesday, AL • Tampa Bay (Cobb 11-3) at Cleveland (Salazar 2-3), 6:07 p.m., TBS

Division Series

Game 1 • Thursday, Pittsburgh at St. Louis, 3:07 p.m. (TBS)

Game 1 • Thursday, L.A. Dodgers at Atlanta, 6:37 p.m. (TBS

Game 1 • Friday, Cleveland-Tampa Bay winner at Boston, 1:07 p.m. (TBS)

Game 1 • Friday, Detroit at Oakland, 7:37 p.m. (TBS) Pirates 6, Reds 2

Cincinnati AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Choo cf 3 2 1 1 0 1 .333

Ludwick lf 4 0 3 0 0 0 .750

Votto 1b 4 0 0 0 0 2 .000

B.Phillips 2b 4 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Bruce rf 4 0 1 1 0 2 .250

Frazier 3b 4 0 1 0 0 1 .250

Cozart ss 3 0 0 0 1 0 .000

Hanigan c 3 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Ondrusek p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

LeCure p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

Cueto p 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000

S.Marshall p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

Hoover p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

a-Heisey ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Simon p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

M.Parra p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

Mesoraco c 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Totals 32 2 6 2 1 6

Pittsburgh AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

S.Marte lf 5 1 2 0 0 0 .400

N.Walker 2b 5 1 2 1 0 0 .400

McCutchen cf 3 1 2 0 2 0 .667

Morneau 1b 4 0 1 0 1 0 .250

Byrd rf 4 1 1 2 0 0 .250

P.Alvarez 3b 3 0 0 1 0 1 .000

R.Martin c 4 2 3 2 0 0 .750

Barmes ss 4 0 1 0 0 0 .250

Liriano p 2 0 1 0 0 0 .500

b-Snider ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000

Watson p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

Grilli p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

Totals 35 6 13 6 3 2

Cincinnati 000 100 010 — 2 6 1

Pittsburgh 021 200 10x — 6 13 0

a-grounded into a double play for Hoover in the 5th. b-struck out for Liriano in the 7th. E—Cozart (1). LOB—Cincinnati 5, Pittsburgh 10. 2B—Ludwick 2 (2), Frazier (1), S.Marte (1), N.Walker (1). HR—Choo (1), off Watson Byrd (1), off Cueto R.Martin (1), off Cueto R.Martin (2), off Ondrusek. RBIs—Choo (1), Bruce (1), N.Walker (1), Byrd 2 (2), P.Alvarez (1), R.Martin 2 (2). S—Liriano. SF—P.Alvarez. Runners left in scoring position—Cincinnati 4 (Frazier, B.Phillips 2, Hanigan) Pittsburgh 5 (N.Walker, Barmes, P.Alvarez 2, S.Marte). RISP—Cincinnati 1 for 10 Pittsburgh 1 for 8. Runners moved up—Votto. GIDP—Heisey, Morneau. DP—Cincinnati 1 (Frazier, Cozart, Votto) Pittsburgh 1 (P.Alvarez, N.Walker, Morneau).

Cincinnati IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Cueto L, 0-1 31⁄3 7 4 3 1 0 8.10

S.Marshall 0 1 1 1 2 0 20 -

Hoover 2⁄3 0 0 0 0 0 0.00

Simon 11⁄3 2 0 0 0 0 0.00

M.Parra 2⁄3 1 0 0 0 1 0.00

Ondrusek 1 1 1 1 0 1 9.00

LeCure 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.00

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Liriano W, 1-0 7 4 1 1 1 5 1.29

Watson 1 2 1 1 0 0 9.00

Grilli 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.00

S.Marshall pitched to 3 batters in the 4th. Inherited runners-scored—S.Marshall 1-1, Hoover 3-1, M.Parra 1-0. IBB—off S.Marshall (McCutchen). HBP—by Liriano (Choo).

T—3:14. A—40,487 (38,362).

Liriano pitches seven strong innings; Martin homers twice in win.
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