The Los Angeles Dodgers, who entered the 2013 Major League Baseball season with a payroll of roughly $216 million, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, who entered the season with a payroll of just over $66 million, are both within a victory of clinching a spot in the National League Championship Series with victories on Sunday.
The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five NL Division Series with a hitting barrage against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium, 13-6. Hanley Ramirez came within a home run of hitting for the cycle with a three-hit performance. Carl Crawford and Juan Uribe each hit a homer for Los Angeles, as the Dodgers overcame a poor start from rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu.
"It's 25 guys out there that we come here every day and we put in hard work on the field," Ramirez said, according to the Associated Press. "Everything I do, I do for my team and for the city. When I see a big smile from my teammates and my fans, that makes me happy."
The Pirates earned a 2-1 series lead on the St. Louis Cardinals behind a solid start from Francisco Liriano and some key late hits at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, 5-3. Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin hit consecutive RBI singles in the bottom of the eight inning to break the 3-3 score. Liriano, who didn't get the decision, kept Pittsburgh in the game by allowing just two runs in six innings.
"We're continuing to surprise a lot of people, I believe. We're continuing to show people that we're not done, that we're not just happy to be in the postseason," said center fielder Andrew McCutchen. "We're fighting to win a World Series."
A potential Dodgers-Pirates matchup for the National League pennant would end a major drought of World Series appearances. The two storied clubs have won a combined 11 World Series titles and 30 National League pennants. The Dodgers have not played in the World Series since 1988, while the Pirates have not appeared in the Fall Classic since 1979.