Starter Francisco Liriano pitched seven strong innings and catcher Russell Martin belted two home runs to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-2 home win over the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Wild Card game.
Playing Tuesday night before a noisy home crowd that had waited more than two decades for the Pirates to return to the postseason, right fielder Marlon Byrd got his club on the board early with a home run to left off of Reds starter Johnny Cueto.
Two batters later, Martin made it a two-run lead with a round-tripper to the same section of PNC Park.
Pittsburgh had built a 5-1 lead after four innings, and that was more than enough run support for Liriano, who gave up just one run and four hits over seven innings.
Martin also gave the Pirates an insurance run with a homer off of Reds reliever Logan Ondrusek in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Reds' Shin-Soo Choo scored both of the Reds' runs, scoring on a Jay Bruce single in the top of the fourth inning and hitting a home run in the top of the eighth.
Liriano got the win, while Cueto took the loss after giving up seven hits and four runs - three of them earned - in just 3 1/3 innings of work.
The Pirates, back in the playoffs for the first time since a stunning Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 National League Championship Series, will next take on the St. Louis Cardinals in a five-game series that starts Thursday. EFE