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St Louis into eighth Championship Series since 2000

ESPN staff
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Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright celebrated in style © Getty Images
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The St Louis Cardinals are through to their eighth Championship Series since the turn of the millennium after seeing off the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 in Game Five of the National League Division Series.

The Cardinals were 2-1 down in the series but turned it around to win 6-1 in the deciding clash. It is the third straight season the Pirates have made the Championship Series.

David Freese and Matt Adams both hit two-run homers, and Adam Wainwright went all the way on the mound, scattering eight hits.

"I've got to put it right up there with the most fun and one of the greatest moments of my career so far," Wainwright said. "Those are the kind of moments that starting pitchers live for.

"I wanted it bad. It's probably the most nervous I've ever been. I don't get a whole lot of nerves when I pitch. Before I pitched today, I was pretty nervous."

For three years now, nobody has been better than the Cardinals when they can't afford to lose. And after coming through again in a winner-take-all Game Five, St Louis get to stay at home to open the Championship Series against the well-rested Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.

By ending Pittsburgh's storybook season, the Cardinals improved to 8-1 when facing post-season elimination in the past three years. They also won Game Five of the Division Series in Washington last year - even though Wainwright got rocked - and at Philadelphia in 2011.

"We'll take him on the mound any day, especially in a big situation," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "I love the fact that everybody kept asking him about Game Five last year because I knew that was just bringing even more to the table, if you could even do that."

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