PNC Park will be rocking Tuesday night. The Pirates making their first playoff appearance in 21 years, will host the NL Wildcard Game vs the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday night.
The Pirates clinched home field for the wildcard game with an 8-3 win over the Reds today behind their biggest power surge in six years.
Neil Walker homered twice, and Marlon Byrd, Andrew McCutchen, Andrew Lambo and Pedro Alvarez also homered as the Pirates hit six home runs in the win.
Pirates players and coaches have strongly felt getting the home game was very important and they delivered with two impressive wins. “Today showed how bad we wanted to go home. We answered in a big way,” Andrew McCutchen said.
“The important thing for me is getting the guys home and playing in a park where we won 50 games and giving our fans a taste of postseason baseball,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
A.J. Burnett set tone in the series for the Pirates to take the first two games against the Reds with a dominant outing Friday night. As tempting as it might be to start Burnett for the NL Wildcard Game on three days rest, Hurdle is sticking with his plan to start Francisco Liriano who struggled in his last outing but has been lights out at home.
The Reds smartly for them are starting Johnny Cueto who is 13-4 with a 2.37 ERA all-time vs the Pirates and 8-2, 1.90 ERA at PNC Park.
Burnett is scheduled to start game 1 of the NLDS if the Pirates advance.
It should be a special night on Tuesday
*Neil Walker with a career high 16 home runs, has homered in five of his last nine games and has seven homers in September…….Pedro Alvarez became the first Pirate since Jason Bay in 2006 to reach the 100 RBI plateau. Alvarez is tied with Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt for the NL lead in home runs with 36…….Brandon Cumpton will start Sunday as the Pirates will bypass Gerrit Cole’s start due to the game being meaningless.