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Cole, Pirates reverse roles, top Cards, tie series

  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)

    Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)

  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)

    Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)

  • Pittsburgh Pirates' Pedro Alvarez hits a double against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Pittsburgh Pirates' Pedro Alvarez hits a double against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Pittsburgh Pirates' Pedro Alvarez hits a double against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Pittsburgh Pirates' Pedro Alvarez hits a double against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • St. Louis Cardinals' Carlos Beltran hits a double against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning in Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Pirates is Russell Martin. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

    St. Louis Cardinals' Carlos Beltran hits a double against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning in Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Pirates is Russell Martin. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • St. Louis Cardinals' Carlos Beltran hits a double against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning in Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Pirates is Russell Martin. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

    St. Louis Cardinals' Carlos Beltran hits a double against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning in Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Pirates is Russell Martin. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter acknowledges the crowd before the start of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series agaist the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter acknowledges the crowd before the start of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series agaist the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter acknowledges the crowd before the start of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series agaist the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter acknowledges the crowd before the start of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series agaist the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn pitches against Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)

    St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn pitches against Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)

  • St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn pitches against Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)

    St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn pitches against Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)

  • St. Louis Cardinals' Daniel Descalso (33) is tagged out along the first baseline by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson in the seventh inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    St. Louis Cardinals' Daniel Descalso (33) is tagged out along the first baseline by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson in the seventh inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • St. Louis Cardinals' Daniel Descalso (33) is tagged out along the first baseline by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson in the seventh inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    St. Louis Cardinals' Daniel Descalso (33) is tagged out along the first baseline by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson in the seventh inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • St. Louis Cardinals' Daniel Descalso (33) is tagged out along the first baseline by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson in the seventh inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    St. Louis Cardinals' Daniel Descalso (33) is tagged out along the first baseline by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson in the seventh inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) hits an RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Cardinals is Yadier Molina. (AP Photo/Sarah Conard)

    Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) hits an RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Cardinals is Yadier Molina. (AP Photo/Sarah Conard)

  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) hits an RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Cardinals is Yadier Molina. (AP Photo/Sarah Conard)

    Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) hits an RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Cardinals is Yadier Molina. (AP Photo/Sarah Conard)

  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Merrimack Valley's Tucker Burt clutches the ball after a run during the game against Pembroke on Friday night, October 4, 2013.

    Merrimack Valley's Tucker Burt clutches the ball after a run during the game against Pembroke on Friday night, October 4, 2013.

  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates' Pedro Alvarez hits a double against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates' Pedro Alvarez hits a double against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • St. Louis Cardinals' Carlos Beltran hits a double against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning in Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Pirates is Russell Martin. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • St. Louis Cardinals' Carlos Beltran hits a double against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning in Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Pirates is Russell Martin. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter acknowledges the crowd before the start of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series agaist the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter acknowledges the crowd before the start of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series agaist the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn pitches against Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)
  • St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn pitches against Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Elsa, Pool)
  • St. Louis Cardinals' Daniel Descalso (33) is tagged out along the first baseline by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson in the seventh inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • St. Louis Cardinals' Daniel Descalso (33) is tagged out along the first baseline by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson in the seventh inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • St. Louis Cardinals' Daniel Descalso (33) is tagged out along the first baseline by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson in the seventh inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) hits an RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Cardinals is Yadier Molina. (AP Photo/Sarah Conard)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) hits an RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Catching for the Cardinals is Yadier Molina. (AP Photo/Sarah Conard)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's National League division series on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Merrimack Valley's Tucker Burt clutches the ball after a run during the game against Pembroke on Friday night, October 4, 2013.

Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates played a game of role reversal, and pulled even with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The hard-throwing rookie gave up two hits in six dominant innings and also had an RBI in his postseason debut, Pedro Alvarez homered for the second straight day and the Pirates beat the Cardinals, 7-1, yesterday to even their NL Division Series at one game apiece.

A day after St. Louis got a strong effort from its starter and took advantage of mistakes to romp 9-1 in the opener, the Pirates showed poise for their first playoff win since 1992 while the Cardinals looked tentative in the field.

The Pirates now head home for Game 3 tomorrow in the best-of-five series. Wild-card game winner Francisco Liriano faces Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly.

Cole faced the Cardinals for the first time and left most of them shaking their heads, striking out five and walking one. After allowing Carlos Beltran’s double with one out in the first, the 22-year-old retired 11 straight before Yadier Molina led off the fifth with his third career postseason homer.

Relying on a fastball that peaked at 99 mph on the stadium radar gun and one that TBS had at 100, Cole had hitters helpless at times even without shadows that benefited pitchers early in Game 1.

“I just trusted myself and tried to keep it as simple as I could,” Cole said. “You just try and clear you mind after every pitch and just look forward.”

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn yielded five runs and seven hits in 4 1∕3 innings.

Alvarez doubled and scored on Cole’s single in the second to put the Pirates ahead – eighth-place hitter Jordy Mercer was walked intentionally ahead of Cole.

Alvarez then hit a 418-foot, two-run homer in the third.

Pirates pitchers totaled 10 RBIs during the season and Cole had five of them, including two in his final start.

Third baseman David Freese dropped Marlon Byrd’s pop fly for an error in gusting wind in the seventh inning, leading to a run.

Lynn was yanked with one out in the fifth after back-to-back doubles by Justin Morneau and Byrd that put the Pirates up 5-0, followed by a four-pitch walk to Alvarez that gave reliever Seth Maness a little more time to warm up.

Braves 4, Dodgers 3

Mike Minor pitched six strong innings, Jason Heyward had a two-run single and the Braves pulled off some nifty plays in the field, holding off Los Angeles to even the series at one game apiece.

In a postseason already marked by defensive miscues all over the place, including some shaky plays by the Braves in Game 1, Atlanta’s defense came through by turning three double plays – none more crucial than the one Luis Avilan started in the seventh to escape the inning with a 2-1 lead intact.

Heyward came through in the bottom half with a two-run single.

Hanley Ramirez drove in all three runs for the Dodgers, including an impressive show of the strength in the eighth for a two-run homer. He cleared the wall down the left-field line with a one-handed swing off David Carpenter.

Not taking any chances, the Braves went to closer Craig Kimbrel for a rare four-out save. He ended the eighth by retiring Juan Uribe on a groundout, then pitched around two walks in the ninth – again getting a hand from the defense.

Pinch-runner Dee Gordon attempted to steal, but catcher Gerald Laird unleashed a strong throw that Andrelton Simmons scooped on the short hop while making the tag in one motion, all while blocking Gordon’s left hand from bag with his knee.

Laird pumped his fist twice and let out a scream, Gordon was wide-eyed in disbelief at the call. Kimbrel finished it off by striking out Carl Crawford with a 98 mph fastball.

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