(BaseballStL) -- After defeating the Reds 6-2 in the one-game wild-card Tuesday night, the storyline of the game for the Pirates wasn’t about the performances of Francisco Liriano and Russell Martin. Instead, it was about the noise coming from the crowd of 40,487 fans, a record attendance for PNC Park.
There was the chant of “Cue-to, Cue-to, Cue-to,” similar to the chant against former NHL goalie Ed Belfour, as Reds starter Johnny Cueto served up two solo home runs in the second inning. A big hubbub was made when Cueto dropped the ball on the mound one pitch before serving up the second home run of the inning.
There’s no doubt it was an electric atmosphere, especially for a city that hadn’t seen playoff baseball in 21 years. The win also gave the Pirates a best-of-five date with the Cardinals starting Thursday.
“I thought the atmosphere last night was great,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “You could hear it, you could feel it just through the TV. The fans there are excited, and rightfully so. We have the same thing here. That's playoff baseball.”
Game 1 starter Adam Wainwright said the team will enjoy the Pittsburgh atmosphere when the series shifts there on Sunday. But before that, the Pirates will have to make it through two games at Busch Stadium, a stadium that has hosted playoff baseball now in each of the last three seasons.
“I don't think I'll drop the ball,” Pirates Game 1 starter A.J. Burnett said. “But I've had crowds get on me before, really loud ones, so I'll be ready for anything.”
Burnett hasn’t been as dominant on the road this season. In 16 road starts, the right-hander is 5-7 with a 4.22 earned-run average, nearly two runs higher than his ERA at home (2.37).
His manager doesn’t think a raucous Busch Stadium, which has a capacity of 46,861, will rattle the 15-year veteran.
“A.J.'s pitched in big venues,” Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle said. “He's pitched meaningful games late season, postseason. I'm very confident in A.J.'s abilities and demeanor, so I don't anticipate any restrictions from A.J. or any complications due to the crowd.”
Game 1 is set for a 4 p.m. (St. Louis time) start. You can follow the action on the BaseballStL mobile app.
Scott Bierman covers the Cardinals, Blues and Rams for KMOV.com and its associated mobile apps (BaseballStL, HockeyStL and FootballStL). You can follow him on Twitter @Scott_Bierman for St. Louis sports news and updates.