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It took two decades to do it, but the Pittsburgh Pirates finally achieved winning baseball.
With a win over the Texas Rangers on Monday night, the struggling franchise continued their miracle season and made a little history in the process. Rookie Gerrit Cole outdueled Rangers ace Yu Darvish for a 1-0 victory, giving Pittsburgh its 82nd win of the season and clinching a record over .500 for the first time since 1992. The victory came on the back of the Pirates’ pitching, of course, as the team shut out the Rangers.
Despite ranking near the bottom of baseball in batting average and runs (24th in the majors in both categories), the Bucs have also had one of baseball’s best pitching staffs. Cole has been a bit up and down for Pittsburgh, but was splendid on Monday to seal the winning year for the Pirates.
There’s little time to celebrate – right now, anyways. Pittsburgh is mired deep in a playoff race with the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds for the National League Central Division crown. Heading into Tuesday’s action, the Cardinals lead the way with the Pirates and Reds only one and two games out, respectively. Regardless of which club wins the division, all three teams have the inside track to reach the postseason, sitting seven games ahead of the Washington Nationals for the second Wild Card spot.
Pittsburgh’s goals haven’t been accomplished yet and none of the players will feel this way – but with the losing streak behind them, the season has already been a success of sorts.