Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NL wild card: Pirates 6, Reds 2

Pirates starter Francisco Liriano comes through with seven stellar innings.

Getty Images

Pirates starter Francisco Liriano comes through with seven stellar innings.

PITTSBURGH — The 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 Pittsburgh roared past the Reds 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 and earned his first career playoff victory for the Pirates, who face the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Thursday.

"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. He gave up four runs in 31/3 innings and appeared rattled by a raucous ballpark that taunted him by chanting his name.

Byrd, 36, acquired by the Pirates in late August from the Mets, celebrated the first postseason at-bat of his 12-year career — 1,250 games — by sending Cueto's fastball into the seats in the second inning 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 leftfield. 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.

Reds 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 crowd of 40,487, largest ever at PNC Park, a place where Cueto had dominated.

Cueto, who went 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 help Liriano would require.

Signed on the cheap in the offseason after a mediocre 2012 split between the Twins and the 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.

NL wild card: Pirates 6, Reds 2 10/01/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 12:33am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  2. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  3. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  4. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.