NLDS Game 5 is 24th meeting this season between Cardinals, Pirates

  • Article by: R.B. FALLSTROM, AMP;LT;\N and AMP;GT;AP SPORTS WRITER
  • Updated: October 9, 2013 - 12:13 AM

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Heading into Game 5 of their NL division series against Pittsburgh, the Cardinals can take comfort in this: They're 7-1 the last three years when facing postseason elimination.

Manager Mike Matheny said poise comes from a mind-set of sticking to routine that is established during spring training.

"We saw it in Pittsburgh, and I anticipate seeing it tomorrow," Matheny said Tuesday after most players attended an optional workout. "They show up like it's another -- it's another great day."

Starter Adam Wainwright was loose and playful on the podium, joking that he got knocked out early on purpose in last year's division series finale at Washington to "get the mojo flowing." He tore a page from the Tony La Russa quote book, declining to discuss possible wrinkles for Game 5, turning to Matheny and asking, "Is that a scouting report? That's a scouting report."

Though this is the Pittsburgh Pirates' first playoff appearance since 1992, they've looked seasoned, too.

"This is obviously an exciting time, a high-pressure situation, and you know, this is what you prepare for all year," rookie starter Gerrit Cole said. "Yeah, it's extremely exciting, and I can't wait."

The Pirates will be facing an opponent they all know too well. It'll be the 24th meeting of the season, with strong stretches on both sides and the Pirates holding a 12-11 edge.

"You've got to meet the demands of the game," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I don't think I've been in a game where somebody just didn't show up."

Runs figure to be at a premium. Michael Wacha flirted with a no-hitter for the second straight game on Monday, holding Pittsburgh hitless until Pedro Alvarez's eighth-inning homer, and St. Louis held on for a 2-1 win that brought the series back to Busch Stadium.

Wainwright allowed a run in seven innings in the opener and is 5-0 in his last six starts. The 19-game winner became the third pitcher in franchise history to twice lead the league in victories, joining Dizzy Dean and Mort Cooper. Wainwright embraces the role of ace he inherited from injured Chris Carpenter.

Last season was Wainwright's first year back from reconstructive elbow surgery, and he described his stuff as "hit or miss." He allowed six runs in 2 1-3 innings in Game 5 of the division series against the Nationals, then rebounded to beat San Francisco in Game 4 of the NL championship series.

"This year I have all the confidence in the world in my stuff," Wainwright said. "It's a completely different situation."

Wainwright leans on advice injured closer Jason Isringhausen gave him in 2006 -- just breathe. Then a rookie, Wainwright got the final out in the NLCS and the World Series. He said the bullpen experience taught him the "urgency of each pitch."

"Going out there and getting a guy out one time like it's going to be the last time you ever face him, that's the mentality I took into starting," Wainwright said. "I have to give it everything I've got every pitch until they take the ball from me."

Cole made a dazzling postseason debut in Game 2, when he retired 11 consecutive hitters. Now that they've seen him, the Cardinals expect to have more success against him.

"I think it's going to help big-time," Matt Adams said. "We're going to know how the ball's coming out of his hand and know what his tendencies are."

Of course, Cole has seen them, too.

"So it's just going to come down to executing a handful of pitches, being able to hit the spot or execute the pitch when I need to," Cole said.

Statistically, the series is almost dead even. The Pirates are batting .236 with 14 runs, while the Cardinals are hitting .192 with 15 runs.

Matheny said leadoff man Matt Carpenter, in a 1-for-15 slide with six strikeouts, has been trying too hard.

"Looks like he's seeing the ball better," Matheny said. "What he's guilty of is carrying too much and feeling like he's got to do something extra special."

Alvarez has three homers and five RBIs for the Pirates, and NL MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen is batting .357. But leadoff man Starling Marte 1 for 15 and Neil Walker is hitless in 16 at-bats.

Hurdle said he wasn't contemplating changes for Game 5.

"These men are both capable and they have done it in the past," Hurdle said. "We have been pitched effectively in a couple different spots. I have every confidence that tomorrow night will be the night that they get going."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close