video thumbnail

PIT@STL Gm2: Pirates tab Cole to face Lynn in Game 2

The lopsided score in Thursday's opener of the National League Division Series represents the most significant outcome of the season between the Cardinals and Pirates, to be sure.

Then again, the NL Central rivals are now even at 10 wins apiece through 20 meetings this season. Their 2013 rivalry has had plenty of twists and turns, each team serving up blowout victories against the other at various times.

When they hit the field Friday for Game 2, it will be Lance Lynn of the Cards against Gerrit Cole of the Bucs in a matchup of young right-handers that will determine the course of this NLDS before it heads to Pittsburgh over the weekend.

Game time is 1 p.m. ET on MLB Network. It's a quick turnaround, and the Cardinals are fine with that after a 9-1 victory in Thursday's Game 1.

"That's the way you want it," Cards infielder Matt Carpenter said. "You want to keep the momentum going, keep the energy up and come out tomorrow ready to go."

For the Pirates, their first Division Series game obviously didn't go the way they'd wanted it to, but manager Clint Hurdle recognizes that his team has shown the resiliency to snap back from a tough loss all season long.

"We've lost a few games like this this year, so what we've been good at is just moving on," Hurdle said. "We knew coming in we had to find a way to win a game here. Didn't win today. We're really good at dealing with the reality of the situation."

The situation as it stands is that the Cardinals have the Pirates' number a bit, dating back to their final matchups of the season. Including the three-game sweep in St. Louis that concluded the two teams' season series in early September, the Cards now have outscored the Bucs by 24 runs (35-11) in their last four meetings.

Friday's Game 2 pits a pair of pitchers who aren't that far apart in age but are miles apart in experience. Lynn is in his third season in the Majors -- and third postseason. Cole, the 2011 No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft, made his Major League debut in June, and this obviously will be his postseason debut.

Both have proven to be heady for their age, and both have the type of talent that belongs on the October stage.

Cole has been impressive in his rookie season, going 11-7 record with a 3.22 ERA in 19 starts after being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, finishing strong by going 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in five September starts to secure his rotation spot in October.

That said, the 23-year-old knows he's stepping into uncharted territory when he takes the mound Friday.

"It's going to be unbelievable," Cole said Thursday. "You're in enemy territory. The place is going to be loud. It's going to be rocking. I have no real experience to pull from, so just going to try to keep it as simple as I can and just control what I can control."

Lynn, meanwhile, has been part of the Cardinals' postseason runs each of the last two years, and he had a late-season resurgence to put a rough patch behind him and solidify his position in the rotation.

Lynn will be meeting the Pirates for the fifth time this season, with varying results in the previous efforts, but one thing that hasn't wavered is his success in St. Louis. In 16 starts at Busch Stadium during the regular season, he was 9-3 with a 2.82 ERA.

"Some pitchers feel more comfortable at certain places," Lynn said. "I have the luxury of throwing in front of the home crowd here, and I'm excited about it."

Pirates: Bullpen still fresh, considering
When starter A.J. Burnett couldn't get an out in the third inning and left Game 1 in the midst of a seven-run frame, the Bucs were in jeopardy of taxing their bullpen right out of the gate. Thanks to four innings of solid work from Jeanmar Gomez and a scoreless inning each from Vin Mazarro and Bryan Morris, the Pirates' relief corps remains in good shape heading into Game 2.

"We got some good work out of our bullpen," Hurdle said. "[Gomez] pitched very, very good to keep the bullpen intact. We can go a number of different ways tomorrow along with Cole to give us our best shot, get a win and get out of here."

• Closer Jason Grilli on the team's position being down, 1-0, in the series: "We don't sit there and digest it and have a meeting, think of pink elephants. We really don't. We go out to play that particular day's game. When you play this many ballgames, you focus on what you go after that day. This is a series, not a one-game playoff."

Cardinals: Freese an October star, too
While Carlos Beltran's three-run homer, which added to his amazing postseason resume, drew much of the attention in Game 1, David Freese also continued to shine under the October spotlight.

Freese had a pair of hits, extending his Division Series hitting streak to 10 games. He has hit safely in 10 of the 11 DS games he has played in his career.

After taking the last two games of the regular season off, Freese looked sharp in Thursday's opener, driving in a pair of runs and saving a potential extra-base hit with a dive over the third-base line to snare a Clint Barmes liner in the third inning.

"Five days might have seemed like a lot, but today it looked like that was about right," Cards manager Mike Matheny said of Freese. "So he physically feels good, and we knew his swing was in a good spot, too. We didn't really want him to change anything, and he came out today and proved once again he's the kind of guy that loves these situations and somehow figures out a way to get it done."

• Matheny said it was good to get a couple of the younger pitchers' feet wet in the opener, including closer Trevor Rosenthal, who pitched the ninth with an eight-run lead. "We have some young guys that are anxious to do their part, but their time will come," Matheny said.

Worth noting
• Freese tied current teammate Yadier Molina with his 27th career postseason RBI. They are in third place in Cardinals playoff history behind Albert Pujols (52) and Jim Edmonds (41).

• The Cards set a NLDS record with their seven-run third inning, one shy of the MLB-record eight-run fifth the Angels put up in 2002.

• Pittsburgh first baseman Justin Morneau had a single in the fourth inning; he has now hit safely in his last four postseason games.

• Pedro Alvarez's solo homer was the Pirates' first postseason homer by a third baseman since Bill Madlock went deep off Cincinnati's Fred Norman in the 1979 NL Championship Series. Comments