The St. Louis Cardinals eliminated most of the drama from their first game of the 2013 playoffs with a seven-run third inning Thursday on their way to a 9-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, but the more relaxed atmosphere at Busch Stadium was significant.
The crowd at the Pirates’ home ballpark, PNC Park, would have likely been muted if the Cardinals had a similar inning on the road to put the Pirates in a 7-0 hole, but the game most certainly would not have started that way.
The Pittsburgh fans created a terrific environment for the Pirates wild-card game Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds. A town that had not seen playoff baseball in person for more than 20 years cranked up the noise and were relentless in their chants toward Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto.
The Pirates obviously fed off of the energy from the crowd. Marlon Byrd and Russell Martin each hit solo homeruns in their first at-bats, and the Reds could never muster much of a rally in one of the most hostile environm...