News

Cardinals top Pirates, head to NL Championship

Cardinals top Pirates, head to NL Championship

ON TO THE NLCS: St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) celebrates with teammates after game five. Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – The St. Louis Cardinals rode the brilliant pitching of Adam Wainwright to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 and clinch a place in the National League Championship Series on Wednesday.

The Game Five NL Division Series victory, fueled by a pair of big home runs, thrilled the handkerchief-waving home crowd at Busch Stadium and lifted the Cardinals into the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which starts in St. Louis on Friday.

“I wanted it bad, I wanted it bad,” said Wainwright, who finished the regular season tied for the NL lead with 19 wins.

“It was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been.”

David Freese, the MVP of the Cardinals’ 2011 World Series triumph, crushed a hanging slider over the fence in left for a two-run homer off Pittsburgh’s rookie starter Gerrit Cole in the second inning to open the scoring, and an RBI-single by John Jay in the sixth made it 3-0.

Wainwright sailed along through six innings, giving up just two hits and one walk, but Pittsburgh broke through in unconventional fashion in the seventh, stringing together three infield hits in a row to cut the Cardinals lead to 3-1.

Wainwright went the full nine innings, giving up eight hits and just the one run.

St. Louis removed any suspense in the eighth when first baseman Matt Adams followed a Matt Holliday single with a towering blast deep into the right-field seats off reliever Mark Melancon and the sea of red-clad fans began their celebration as the Cards tacked on another run for good measure.

Wainwright struck out slugger Pedro Alvarez on one of his trademark curves with two men on base in the ninth to seal the Cards’ 3-2 series win, igniting a party on the diamond under a canopy of fireworks.

The St. Louis starter was helped by some deft fielding as the Cards turned three double plays, including two off line drives that were caught and had runners doubled off base.

“Our guys made great plays after great plays behind me and all I had to do was execute pitches,” said the right-hander.

It was a disappointing end for the wild card Pirates, who were in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.

The do-or-die series final marked the 24th meeting this season between the NL Central rivals and the clubs split them 12-12.

“Whenever we turned around, Wainwright got in the way,” said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. “He kept making pitches.”

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

Morrison, Seager help Mariners outslug A’s, 11-8

Fresh
seattle mariners oakland athletics logos

Kyle Seager and Stefen Romero both homered while Brad Miller drove in three runs for the Mariners, who won their third straight to clinch the season series between the division rivals.

in Local Sports

Petersen falls short as No. 23 Broncos beat Huskies

Fresh
Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen in action against Eastern Washington in an NCAA football game Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Seattle. Washington won 59-52.

Jeremy McNichols rushed for 89 yards and two first-half touchdowns, and No. 23 Boise State withstood a second half filled with special teams mistakes for a 16-13 victory over Washington on Friday

in Local Sports

Prep football scoreboard – Week 1

Updated
high school football scoreboard dl

Check out the scores from around the Northwest Conference

in Local Sports

AP Source: Seahawks, Jackson agree on 1-year contract

This is a 2015 photo of Fred Jackson of the Buffalo Bills NFL football team. This image reflects the Buffalo Bills active roster as of Monday, June 15, 2015 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Friday on a condition of anonymity because the deal has not been signed. NFL.com first reported Jackson and the Seahawks had agreed to terms.

in Sports

U.S. Open: Djokovic, Cilic through to the fourth round

Serbia's Novak Djokovic clenches his fist after scoring a point in the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Britain's Andy Murray at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Friday, June 5, 2015.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic is through to the fourth round of the U.S. Open with another straight-set victory. The nine-time major…