Martin's power leads Pirates to NLDS
October, 2, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarRussell Martin (right) homered twice for the Pirates in their win against the Reds.The Pittsburgh Pirates have won a postseason game for the first time since October 13, 1992.
Marlon Byrd, Francisco Liriano and Andrew McCutchen all played significant roles in the victory, but it was Russell Martin who especially shined for the Pirates.
Key to the game: Russell's muscle
Martin had only one multihomer game in the regular season, but he put two pitches into the bleachers in Tuesday's win.
Martin became the second Pirates player to hit two homers in a postseason game, joining Bob Robertson, who hit three against the San Francisco Giants in Game 2 of the 1971 NLCS.
Martin's nine total bases are tied with Willie Stargell for the second-most in a postseason game in team history. Stargell had nine in one of the most famous postseason wins in team history, Game 7 of the 1979 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.
Martin is the second player to hit multiple home runs in a postseason game in Pittsburgh. The other? Mickey Mantle in Game 2 of the 1960 World Series for the New York Yankees.
Martin is the seventh player (first since Johnny Damon for the 2004 Boston Red Sox) and second catcher (first since Yogi Berra in the 1956 World Series) with two homers in a winner-take-all postseason game.
He is also the first catcher to homer in postseason play for three different teams, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He'd previously done so for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Yankees.
Martin's first homer came on a 95 mph fastball. During the regular season, he tied Starling Marte for the team lead in home runs on pitches thrown at least that fast. The Reds knew firsthand that Martin could turn around that kind of pitch. He'd done so 10 days ago, hitting a 95 mph fastball from Homer Bailey for a game-tying homer in an eventual 4-2 Pirates win.
Matchup of the game: Liriano versus Joey Votto
The first two hitters in the Reds lineup -- Shin-Soo Choo and Ryan Ludwick -- were 4-for-7 combined. The rest of the Reds went a combined 2-for-25.
Liriano took advantage of Votto's late-season struggles hitting left-handed pitching, striking him out twice. Votto was 4-for-31 against lefties to close the season (though he did draw 11 walks).
The strikeouts both came on sliders down and away that Votto flailed at and missed.
Liriano threw 45 sliders among his 90 pitches, the highest rate of use for that pitch that he's had in any start this season. The pitch netted him 14 outs and yielded only one baserunner.
The Pirates will meet the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. It will be the first time the Pirates and Cardinals meet in the postseason.
Pittsburgh will be looking to win a postseason series for the first time since 1979, when it won the World Series by defeating the Orioles in seven games.
Did you know?
This is the second time the Pirates have hit at least three homers in a postseason home game.
The other was in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series against the Yankees, when they won on Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth.