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Big League Stew

NLDS Game 3: Pirates score twice in 8th to beat Cardinals 5-3 and take series lead

David Brown
Big League Stew

The Pittsburgh Pirates are one victory from the National League Championship Series after beating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 on Sunday night in Game 3 of the NLDS. They lead the best-of-five set two games to one.

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A half-inning after Carlos Beltran took the air out of PNC Park by hitting a tying homer, Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez lined an RBI single against lefty Kevin Siegrist to give the Bucs a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth.

Beltran, surpassing Babe Ruth on the all-time postseason list, hit a tying solo homer in the top of the eighth against reliever Mark Melancon, who hadn't allowed a home run since April 14 — in his eighth appearance of the season. Beltran drove in all of the Cardinals runs.

Marlon Byrd continued to contribute in his first postseason, getting two hits and driving in two runs for the Pirates.

• Pete Kozma made a bad decision to throw to first on Justin Morneau's infield single in the bottom of the first inning. The error put two runners in scoring position, and Byrd made the Birds pay with a two-run single.

• Andrew McCutchen had two hits and drew two walks, but made a horrendous baserunning mistake, getting thrown out at third on a ball hit to the shortstop, after leading off the bottom of the eighth with a double. The Pirates picked him up, though.

• Umpire Jerry Layne had a bizarre strike zone, for both teams, giving way too much of the outside corner with left-handed batters at the plate.

The Cardinals pulled off a double steal in the fifth, although Jon Jay might have been out at third base on the tag by Alvarez. But, Jay slid off the bag and Alvarez didn't keep the tag on him. If he had, Jay (probably) would have been called out and Alvarez might never have needed to win the game later on.

Alvarez hit .180 against left-handed pitchers during the regular season.

The missed opportunities the Cardinals had against left-hander Francisco Liriano.

Why did Kozma throw the ball on Morneau's infield hit?

Alvarez overcoming the percentages against Siegrist.

Rookie right-hander Michael Wacha tries to keep the Cardinals season alive in Game 4 on Monday against Charlie Morton for the Pirates.

Are you ready for some playoffs?!
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