For the first time since 1992, the Pirates have officially clinched a winning season. They won their 82nd game of 2013 on Monday night by blanking the Rangers 1-0. Pittsburgh lost four straight before the streak-smashing win, but they did get it with 19 games to spare.
Pedro Alvarez drove in the game's only run with a seventh inning double off Yu Darvish, but the star of the night was right-hander Gerrit Cole. The rookie held Texas to just three singles and two walks in seven innings while striking out nine. It's fitting Alvarez and Cole teamed up for the win considering how symbolic they are of the franchise's turn-around.
The Pirates went a record 20 seasons between winning seasons. More importantly, Monday's win moves them to within one game of the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. Considering their comfortable lead in the wild-card race, it's a foregone conclusion the Pirates will make the postseason for the first time since losing to the Braves in the 1992 NLCS.