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Cards Stop Pirates, Advance to NLCS

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Adam Wainwright pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and David Freese hit a two run homer as the St. Louis Cardinals advanced to the National League Championship Series for the third straight season, beating Pittsburgh 6-1 in the deciding game of their best of five series.

The Cardinals now advance to meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-seven NLCS beginning Saturday in St. Louis.

Wainwright carried a two hit shutout in the seventh, but gave up a run on three consecutive two-out singles, with Pedro Alvarez driving in the run.

Freese, meanwhile, continued to be a force in the postseason, as he lined a two run homer to left field with two out after John Jay worked losing pitcher Gerrit Cole for a walk.  St. Louis added an insurance run in the sixth on a Matt Holiday single, a walk and Jay’s two out single.

The Cardinals added three insurance runs in the eighth on a two run homer by Matt Adams and a Pete Kozma single.

Wainwright gave up six hits over the final three innings, but most of them came with two out as finished with a complete game, throwing 107 pitches, 74 for strikes. He walked one and struck out six.

The loss ended the magical season for the Pirates, who had a two games to one lead in the series, but couldn’t put the Cardinals away.  Pittsburgh was in the postseason for the first time since 1992.

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