Cole shines as Pirates even the series

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St. Louis, MO ( - In addition to pitching six strong innings, rookie Gerrit Cole knocked in a run during the Pittsburgh Pirates' 7-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of their National League Division Series.

Cole (1-0) gave up one run on two hits while striking out five for the Pirates, who bounced back from a 9-1 loss in Game 1 on Thursday. The right- hander went 4-0 in September with a 1.69 ERA in five starts.

Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte homered for Pittsburgh, which is back in the playoffs for the first time since 1992. Russell Martin had two RBI and Marlon Byrd drove in a run and scored twice.

"Well, anytime you can get a win, it's huge. But obviously to fall behind 2-0 to a team like the Cardinals is no good. Today was a huge victory for us," Alvarez said.

Yadier Molina hit a solo homer for the Cardinals, who saw starter Lance Lynn (0-1) allow five runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings.

"Well, I thought Lance did a pretty nice job early," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "The only time he got into trouble is when he didn't control the counts. I thought he established his off-speed pitches as well as we've seen him do that all season long. But when we got into disadvantaged counts, it was a completely different at-bat. So that was pretty consistent."

Game 3 of this best-of-five series will be on Sunday at PNC Park. Francisco Liriano will start for Pittsburgh and Joe Kelly will go for St. Louis.

The Pirates jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning. With one out, Alvarez hit a ground-rule double to left-center field over the head of Jon Jay, who misplayed the ball. Jordy Mercer was intentionally walked two batters later. Cole then helped his own cause with an RBI single to center. Pittsburgh, however, left the bases loaded after Marte was hit by a pitch.

The visitors made it a three-run game on Alvarez's homer in the third. Justin Morneau singled and scored on Alvarez's two-out blast to center.

Pittsburgh tacked on two more runs in the fifth. Morneau doubled to left- center field and raced home on Byrd's ground-rule double to right-center field. Alvarez walked before Seth Maness took over on the mound for Lynn. Martin greeted Maness with an RBI single to left.

Meanwhile, Cole retired 11 straight Cardinals batters. Molina stopped that streak with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the fifth.

"I mean, they're a really tough offense. They don't strikeout a whole lot, and they work counts and pick times to take and pick times to ambush," Cole said. "So it's critical just to make quality pitches early, not only to get ahead, but to minimize damage."

The Pirates scored a run off Kevin Siegrist in the seventh. Byrd reached second on third baseman David Freese's fielding error, advanced to third on Alvarez's groundout and crossed the plate on Martin's sacrifice fly.

Tony Watson took over for Cole in the bottom of the seventh. St. Louis put men on first and second with two outs, but Daniel Descalso grounded out.

Marte homered off Shelby Miller in the eighth to make it a 7-1 game.

Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively, for the Pirates.

Game Notes

The Pirates and Cardinals are meeting in the postseason for the first time ... Cole went 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA in the regular season ... Lynn, who had six strikeouts, closed the regular season with four quality starts and ended the year with a 15-10 record ... Freese, who went 0-for-2, saw his Division Series hitting streak end at 10 games.