Pirates snap 20 year losing streak


The Pittsburgh Pirates clinched a winning season for the first time in twenty years on September 9, in Arlington against the Texas Rangers.

Led by the pitching phenom, Gerrit Cole, the Pirates shut out starting pitcher Yu Darvish and the Texas offense 1-0.  With two out doubles from Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez in the seventh inning, the Pirates took a 1-0 lead that ended up being the difference.

Cole went seven innings and struck out nine and earned the win in a historic game that ended two decades of misery for Pirate fans.  He was relieved by Tony Watson, who worked a scoreless eighth, and Mark Melancon slammed the door with a save in the ninth.  Cole, who has been struggling a bit lately, was basically untouchable and was responsible for ending a streak of losing that began when he was three years old.

The Pirates had some struggles prior to the glorious September night that ended twenty years of despair for Pirate fans, dropping all three games of their series against division rival St. Louis.  However, they have made their way to within one game of the St. Louis Cardinals, who lead the National League Central Division.

The team really seems to have got back on track, and have got the job done thus far in Texas.  They swept the Rangers in three games as AJ Burnett was the winner on Wednesday, with the Bucs winning  7-5.  They rode a solid offensive performance from shortstop Clint Barmes, who had two RBI’s and a home run.  “Anytime you can add to a lead, it’s big. But especially in games likes this — they got a chance to come back and take it from us, at any point, especially with that lineup,” said Barmes on his home run, which provided a vital insurance run in the eighth inning.

Clint Hurdle shared his thoughts on the sweep with MLB.com, saying, “To go on the road and be able to beat [Yu] Darvish, [Martin] Perez and [Matt] Garza … that’s a tall order, and we pulled it off.”  This season’s ride in the NL Central has been a wild one, with three teams with records that would be playoff worthy if the season were to end today.  The Cardinals would take the division and the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds would be in possession of the two wild card spots, which would force them to play a one game playoff in Pittsburgh.

The Pirates finish out the season with seven games against the Chicago Cubs, six against the Reds, and four against the San Diego Padres.

It’s been a great year for the Pirates, but they have a long way to go.  The team faces its first playoff appearance in twenty years, if all goes well, and hopefully Bucs’ fans will hear the hysterical cry of announcer Greg Brown well into October screaming the glorious victory call: Raise the Jolly Roger!