A 3-1 Pirates win over the Reds and a Giants loss, means the Pirates will host the NL Wild Card game at PNC Park on Wednesday night, if they are unable to catch the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL Central Crown.
The Pirates almost got some needed help tonight from the Arizona Diamondbacks but the Cardinals prevailed in 10 innings with a 7-6 win.
With two games to go, the Cardinals remain one game ahead of the Pirates.
The Pirates have not held or shared a lead for first place in the NL Central since April 8th. The Pirates need help from the Diamondbacks but all of the pressure is on the Cardinals to hold off the surging Pirates who have won 17 of 21 games.
Manager Clint Hurdle set up the rotation this weekend with the mindset of going all out for the NL Central crown. Francisco Liriano starts Saturday afternoon and Gerrit Cole starts Sunday.
The downfall is it takes both pitchers out of the mix to pitch in the wildcard game. One thing that could change that is the Pirates losing Saturday and the Cardinals winning to clinch the division, leading Hurdle to scratch Cole from Sunday’s game with nothing to play for.
The Pirates went 51-30 at home this season.
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