PITTSBURGH -- Cardinals lefthanded rookie Kevin Siegrist barely had been touched by any opposing hitters (.128 average) but especially not by lefthanded ones such as Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who was nothing for five against Siegrist.
Lefthanded batsmen averaged only .118 off Siegrist in the regular season but Alvarez nudged that needle a little higher with a run-scoring single to break a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning on Sunday night. Righthanded-batting Russell Martin then tacked on another run-scoring single as the Pirates, twice tied by Carlos Beltran hits, scored a 5-3 win to take a 2-1 lead in games in the best of five National League division series at PNC Park.
Game 4 will be played here Monday afternoon with the Pirates to employ righthander Charlie Morton, long a punching bag of the Cardinals, to try to close out the series.
Morton, who will be opposed by Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha, is 2-9 with a 6.52 earned run average against the Cardinals, and has lost his last six decisions against them.
Beltran, who drove in all three Cardinals runs, hit his 16th postseason homer and second this season to catch the Cardinals up at 3-3 in the eighth. But Pirates Most Valuable Player candidate Andrew McCutchen doubled off Cardinals rookie Carlos Martinez to open the home eighth.
McCutchen then did a very un-MVP thing by running into an out at third on Justin Morneau's grounder to shortstop Pete Kozma.
But Martinez walked Marlon Byrd, who had driven in two of the first three Pittsburgh runs, inducing Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to call for Siegrist, who had an 0.45 earned run average this season.
Alvarez singled between first and second for one run and Martin singled to left for the second run in the inning.
The Cardinals had some life left in the ninth when Matt Adams greeted Pirates closer Jason Grilli with a single. But Jon Jay lined to shortstop Jordy Mercer, Pete Kozma (who had a strong offensive game) flied out and Daniel Descalso bounced to first.
Matheny assured reporters his team would be ready to play Monday.
"They have a short memory," he said of his players. "Right now it hurts. They're going to sit on it for a little while. Tomorrow. . . they'll be ready to go."
The Cardinals have lost just two of the previous 10 division series in which they have been involved.
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