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Pirates win 4-1, move closer to playoffs in Pittsburgh

Joe Robbins

The Pirates beat the Reds 4-1 Friday night, grabbing their 92nd win of the season and inching closer to guaranteeing that their one-game playoff against the Reds will be held at PNC Park. The Cardinals beat the Cubs, clinching the NL Central.

A.J. Burnett pitched eight strong innings, striking out six and walking one, before Jason Grilli pitched a scoreless ninth for the save. (Burnett also got a boost from Starling Marte, who made a ridiculous shoestring catch on a ball hit to the gap in the third.) It's not impossible that Burnett's career could now be over, although obviously, he'll pitch in the playoffs if the Pirates get to play a full series.

Homer Bailey loaded the bases for the Pirates with an HBP and two walks in the third, and Marlon Byrd hit a ground ball past Zack Cozart to bring home two runs. The Reds got one back in the fourth on Todd Frazier's home run. But in the sixth, Byrd narrowly missed a homer on what turned out to be a double to center, and Pedro Alvarez brought him home with a two-run shot, his 35th of the year. Byrd went 3-for-4 on the game.

Charlie Morton will take on Bronson Arroyo tomorrow night with a chance to clinch home-field advantage. If the Pirates win, Gerrit Cole (and, presumably, Reds starter Johnny Cueto, although I suppose that with Dusty Baker you never know) would get the day off on Sunday, and both teams would get a couple days to recharge before reconvening in Pittsburgh.