Controversial late homer foils spoil-minded Pirates

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Sueng Hwan Oh and Yadier Molina celebrate the final out. - GETTY

ST. LOUIS -- Saturday meant an awful lot to the Cardinals. The Pirates didn't have nearly that much on the line, but that didn't blunt the sting of what they felt was an awful break.

Jedd Gyorko's eighth-inning home run off Felipe Rivero handed the Cardinals a critical 4-3 win over the Pirates at Busch Stadium, keeping St. Louis viable in the National League wild card hunt.

Two pitches after it appeared Rivero had poured a third strike in the lower half of the zone, Gyorko made that missed call by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez pivotal, sending Rivero's 100 mph fastball several rows over the right-field fence.

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"For me, it was strike three," Rivero said of that 2-2 slider. "I don't know about him. I thought I threw a pretty good pitch in there, but you can't control that."