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Countdown to a Pirates winning season: Three more victories

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

More MLB: Scoreboard | Standings | Probable Pitchers | Sortable Stats | Odds

As the Pirates look to break the longest winning-record drought in professional sports history, we're counting down with every victory. Pittsburgh pounded the Cardinals by the score of 7-1 on Saturday thanks to a home run from Russell Martin and seven strong innings from A.J. Burnett. Now it's time to put up another low number. Here it is:

(USATSI)

The Jeromy Burnitz era in Pittsburgh isn't exactly fondly remembered, but it is a nice reminder of how far the franchise has come. Pointless name-chasing on the free agent market has been replaced by strong drafting and shrewd trades. GM Neal Huntington and staff deserve a ton of credit for building this club.

Just three wins in the team's final 27 games secures that first winning season since 1992, when Jeff King and Andy Van Slyke tied for second on the team in homers (14) behind Barry Bonds (34). It's a formality at this point. The Pirates figure to win that elusive 82th game at some point in the next week.

Oh, by the way, Saturday's win moved the Pirates into first place in the NL Central. That's more important than a winning record, I'd say.

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