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Pacers were never able to put together a run or cut into the deficit. E

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- A three-game sweep left the Pirates with 94 wins and home-field advantage for the wild-card playoff. Cam Robinson Youth Jersey . Now, its back home to PNC Park to get the post-season started. Quite a weekend, no? "The big thing about that is: It means absolutely nothing," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "Everything youve done for 162 games now means absolutely nothing." Tell that to the revved-up Pirates fans ready to pack PNC Park on Tuesday night for their first playoff game in 21 years. The Pirates headed into the playoffs with a lot of momentum on Sunday, beating the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 in a game that was mostly an afterthought for teams looking ahead to their rematch in two days. "Im happy with where were at," said Pedro Alvarez, who had a chance to share the NLs home run title. "Obviously we have a lot to accomplish and get done, but weve gone out there and played some pretty good baseball. Weve just got to keep going." The Pirates and Reds have met five times in the playoffs: 1970, 1972, 1975, 1979 and 1990, when the Reds won their last World Series title. The wild-card matchup features right-hander Johnny Cueto (5-2), who is 8-2 career at PNC Park, against left-hander Francisco Liriano (16-8), who is 0-3 in four starts against Cincinnati this season. First, there was one game to finish the schedule, and it meant little to either team. Pittsburgh played mostly backups. Alvarez was in the lineup, giving him a chance to try to win the NL home run crown outright. He walked, was hit by a pitch and popped out, finishing the season tied with Arizonas Paul Goldschmidt at 36 homers. The last Pirate to lead the league in homers was Willie Stargell in 1973 with 44. "This is something extra," Alvarez said. "Im not worried about that at all." Reds manager Dusty Baker started his regulars but began substituting after the third inning. Corky Miller had a two-run double. The Reds dropped their last five games, matching their season high. "I dont think were worried about the way we finished the season," catcher Ryan Hanigan said. "I think everybodys excited about the opportunity. All of that is in the past. Everything is ahead of us." Jordy Mercer got the Pirates second inside-the-park homer of the season when right fielder Jay Bruce dived and missed his sinking liner in the second inning. Mercer also had a triple off Greg Reynolds (1-3) and scored twice. Garrett Jones homered for the Pirates, who hit nine in all during the series. Brandon Cumpton (2-1) gave up a pair of hits in five shutout innings. Kyle Farnsworth got his second save. On Tuesday, the Ohio River cities will add to a rivalry that has long been second-best for both cities. Cincinnati has its in-state grudge match with Cleveland. Pittsburgh also has a long-standing rivalry with Cleveland, a pair of steel cities that share a love for polkas and pierogies. Lately, the river rivalry has moved to the forefront. The Bengals beat the Steelers at Heinz Field last December to clinch the AFC North title and knock the Steelers out of the post-season. They signed one of Pittsburghs best players -- linebacker James Harrison -- as a free agent and beat the Steelers again in a Monday night game at Paul Brown Stadium this month. And now, its spilling over to baseball with an edgy series that got both cities attention during the summer -- 28 batters plunked overall, the most in the majors. All those hit batters have left a mark. It feels like a rivalry again. "I think weve gotten each others attention since Ive been here," said Clint Hurdle, in his third season as the Pirates manager. "I think theres a professional respect and theres a desire to go out and win. "I think the content of the games and the quality of the games over the past three years have probably led to that a little bit. Its kind of refreshing. Thats the way it was back when I was a kid watching these two teams play." The Reds are trying to get past the disappointment of their closing week. They clinched a playoff spot on Monday night, but went in to a batting slump that allowed the Pirates to get home-field advantage for the wild card. "As bad as things have been this weekend, we should be very happy and thankful that were going to Pittsburgh to play instead of being down and sad about whats transpired," Baker said. "Our goal is to go to Atlanta or St. Louis (in the division series) and then give our people some more games." NOTES: Alvarez also led the NL with 186 strikeouts. Bruce was second with 185. ... Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was out of the lineup with a bruised left shin, hit by a foul ball on Saturday. Hes expected to play on Tuesday. ... Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo finished first and second in the NL in on-base percentage. Votto led the NL in walks for the third straight season with a club-record 135. ... The Reds drew 2,492,059 fans for 80 home dates, a season record at Great American Ball Park. Cam Robinson Jersey . He made another correct read. The Browns, who have been shuttling quarterbacks on and off the field all season, finally got some good news on that front: Campbells ribs are only bruised. Cam Robinson Jaguars Jersey . He is nigh unstoppable against the leagues worst. The 31-year-old dangerman set up two goals and scored two himself as Toronto FC rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the slumping Houston Dynamo 4-2 on Saturday night. INDIANAPOLIS -- As one of the NBAs elite teams, the Indiana Pacers have a target on their backs. The Phoenix Suns came out firing in the first half and held the Pacers off in the second to hand Indiana just its second home loss of the season. "This year theyre not the underdogs anymore," Suns forward Channing Frye said. "Teams come out and give it their best shot. For them to expect us to come in and lay down, for any team to lay down, its not going to happen." Goran Dragic had 28 points and seven assists to lead Phoenix to the 102-94 win over the Pacers on Thursday night. Gerald Green and Marcus Morris scored 16 points apiece to help the Suns win their fourth straight game. Markieff Morris, who finished with 15 points, hit a 3-pointer with 2:58 remaining to give the Suns a 98-92 lead and Dragic dunked to give the Suns a 100-94 lead with 44 seconds left to put the game out of reach. The Suns (28-18) seemed to have the game put away by halftime. Dragic scored 21 of the Suns 66 points in the first half -- the most given up by the Pacers (35-10) in a half this season since the Suns scored 62 on Indiana a week ago in a 124-100 win. "We are at our best when we start the game well," Dragic said. "We played an up-tempo game, so I think they were a little bit tired." The Pacers rallied after trailing 66-49 at the break, but never retook the lead. Roy Hibbert had 26 points and David West added 18 for the Pacers, who have lost three of five games. Indiana went on an 8-2 run early in the second half with shots by David West, Paul George, Lance Stephenson and George Hill to get within 70-53. Later, George was fouled on a layup and converted the 3-point play to make it 71-61 with 7:01 left in the third. Miles Plumlee missed a dunk and Hibbert scored on a putback to get Indiana within eight. Frye answered with a basket and then HHibbert scored Indianas next six points to get the Pacers within 73-69.Leonard Fournette Youth Jersey. "We came out, got ourselves back in it in the second half with defence, but couldnt get up over the hump," Hibbert said. "They outplayed us." The Pacers got within a point when Hill hit two free throws to make it 91-90 with 4:20 remaining, but Green extended the lead with two free throws. Hill made a layup before Green hit a jumper to put the Suns ahead 95-92 and Markieff Morris 3-pointer to give the Suns a five-point lead. "In the end, that third quarter cost us a little bit," Dragic said. "They came really strong. They made some open shots and that made it a little bit of a different game." It was much different from the way Phoenix played in the first half. They took a lead right away in the first quarter. They went on a 9-0 run early in the game when Dragic tied the game on a layup and later hit a jumper to give the Suns a 6-8 lead. Then Green hit a 3-pointer and another basket to make it 13-6 with 6:24 left in the first quarter. The Suns went on a 15-2 run to close out the first quarter with a 36-19 lead. Stephenson, who left the game in the first quarter after getting hit in the right eye, scored 12 second-quarter points. West added 10, but the Pacers were never able to put together a run or cut into the deficit. Even when George hit a jumper falling out of bounds that went over the corner of the backboard and through the hoop, it didnt matter. Dragic hit a 3-pointer to take back the lead and to give the Suns a 62-45 lead. NOTES: In four halves against the Pacers this season, the Suns have scored 62 points or more in three of them. . Stephenson recorded his fourth triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. . Hibbert and George become the first Pacers teammates to earn All-Star honours in the same season since Jermaine ONeal and Ron Artest in 2004. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys ChinaCheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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