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Pittsburgh at Texas

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Pittsburgh (82-61) «000000100160
Texas (81-62)000000000040

Pirates clinch first winning season since 1992

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had no special message for his team and there was no big celebration after what was a special victory for their long-suffering fans.

With their 1-0 victory at Texas on Monday night, the Pirates clinched their first winning season since 1992. But victory No. 82 was really just another step toward their goal of getting into the playoffs.

"It's going to touch a lot of people on a lot of different levels. We are aware of it," Hurdle said. "Everybody's here for a reason, and that's to knock down things we haven't done in a long time."

Before rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole (7-7) threw seven scoreless innings with a career-high nine strikeouts to win a pitcher's duel against Yu Darvish, the Pirates hadn't had a winning season in more than two decades -- since the last of their three consecutive NL championship appearances. Their last postseason before that was the 1979 World Series championship team.

"We don't really understand what the fans have been through. I know it definitely puts a smile on their face when they see that No. 82 up there," Cole said. "We're extremely happy to be able to make them feel like we've got a winning team out there. But we've got a few weeks ahead and those are going to be some real big games."

Pittsburgh had lost a season-high four games in a row since getting their 81st victory last Tuesday at Milwaukee.

The Pirates (82-61) didn't get a runner to second base against Darvish (12-8) until Marlon Byrd's two-out double in the seventh. He came home when Pedro Alvarez, mired in a 5-for-41 slump over 12 games, followed with a double.

They finally have their winning season after taking the opener of a three-game interleague series between wild-card leaders.

"It's a huge deal for me. It certainly thrills me to be a part of that," said Pirates hitting coach Jay Bell, a shortstop on that 1992 team.

"I understand the significance of this game, the 82nd win, more than probably at least most of the players here," said second baseman Neil Walker, the team's first-round pick in 2004. "As big as this win is for the city of Pittsburgh and the organization, and as big a deal as the media is going to make out of it, we still have a lot of baseball to play. We've got a lot of games we need to win, we're in a tight race."

The Pirates moved within a game of NL Central-leading St. Louis, which swept Pittsburgh in three games over the weekend.

Texas lost for the fourth time in five games, and still needs one more win to clinch its fifth consecutive winning season. The Rangers dropped two games behind idle AL West-leading Oakland.

Darvish is 0-3 his last five starts, all Rangers losses. The Japanese right-hander struck out six while allowing one run and four hits over seven innings. He threw a season-low 81 pitches before coming out because of cramping in his right leg.

Manager Ron Washington said the move was precautionary.

"We needed him to step up and he stepped up tonight, he really threw the ball well, he moved the ball around well, he kept it down in the zone, he did a good job," Washington said. "He's in great shape. It's just something that flared up. If that's all that's wrong with him, and the way he pitched out there tonight, I'll take it."

Cole got out of a self-induced jam in the sixth after consecutive walks to Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios, his only walks in the game. Andrus got his 38th career stolen base -- the Rangers pulled off a double steal when Rios reached before Adrian Beltre grounded out.

"The sixth inning could have gotten out of hand," Cole said. "I was just able to get the ball down on them."

Tony Watson pitched a perfect eighth, his 14th consecutive scoreless outing. Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his 12th save in 14th chances to close out Pittsburgh's 16th shutout of the season.

The Rangers said Darvish started feeling the cramps during the seventh. There was a short delay after the Rangers took the field in the eighth before Tanner Scheppers came out of the bullpen.

"It's minor," Washington said. "No level of concern."

Notes

It was the 14th 1-0 game ever at Rangers Ballpark, which is in its 20th season. It was the second this season, both Rangers losses. ... Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen had a leadoff triple in the ninth. He was thrown out trying to score on Justin Morneau's chopper to second baseman Ian Kinsler. ... Rangers LF Jim Adduci left the game after his at-bat in the fifth inning, when he sustained a right biceps strain while striking out. ... Darvish upped his major league-leading strikeout total to 246. ... Beltre was 1 for 22 over six games before his two-out single in the ninth.

 
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The Pirates finally break the longest non-winning season streak in baseball history with an impressive win in Texas. (USATSI)
The Pirates finally break the longest non-winning season streak in baseball history with an impressive win in Texas. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

G. Cole
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 2
K 9
Texas

Y. Darvish
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 1
K 6
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Tabata, LF4010011 .275
Neil Walker, 2B4000010 .255
Andrew McCutchen, CF4020010 .324
Justin Morneau, 1B4000011 .257
Marlon Byrd, RF3110011 .288
Pedro Alvarez, 3B3011011 .232
Russell Martin, C2000111 .237
Garrett Jones, DH3000001 .235
Clint Barmes, SS3010000 .219
Totals3016117  
Batting
2B - Marlon Byrd (32, Darvish), Pedro Alvarez (19, Darvish)
3B - Andrew McCutchen (5, Cotts)
RBI - Pedro Alvarez (88)
2-OUT RBI - Pedro Alvarez (37)
CS - Jose Tabata (1, 2nd base by Darvish/Soto)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Marlon Byrd 1
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Gerrit Cole (W,7-7) 7300290 3.48
Tony Watson (H,18) 1000000 2.57
Mark Melancon (S,12) 1100000 0.85
WP - Gerrit Cole (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Gerrit Cole 92-64, Tony Watson 16-10, Mark Melancon 8-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gerrit Cole 7-4, Tony Watson 1-2, Mark Melancon 3-0
Batters Faced - Gerrit Cole 25, Tony Watson 3, Mark Melancon 4
Texas Rangers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ian Kinsler, 2B4000010 .270
Elvis Andrus, SS3000110 .267
Alex Rios, RF3010100 .281
Adrian Beltre, 3B4010003 .317
A.J. Pierzynski, DH4010001 .280
Mitch Moreland, 1B3000020 .239
Geovany Soto, C3010010 .231
Jim Adduci, LF2000021 .300
   a-Craig Gentry, PH-LF1000000 .253
Leonys Martin, CF3000020 .266
Totals3004029  
a-grounded out for Murphy in the 8th
Batting
SB - Elvis Andrus 2 (39, 2nd base off Cole/Martin), Alex Rios (35, 2nd base off Cole/Martin)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Moreland-Andrus, Moreland-Andrus-Andrus-Moreland
Texas Rangers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Yu Darvish (L,12-8) 7411160 2.84
Tanner Scheppers 1100000 1.98
Neal Cotts 0.2100000 1.15
Joakim Soria 0.1000010 2.76
HBP - Byrd (by Yu Darvish)
Pitches-Strikes - Yu Darvish 81-54, Tanner Scheppers 10-7, Neal Cotts 6-6, Joakim Soria 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Yu Darvish 7-6, Tanner Scheppers 1-1, Neal Cotts 2-0
Batters Faced - Yu Darvish 25, Tanner Scheppers 3, Neal Cotts 3, Joakim Soria 1
Game Information
Attendance - 33243
Game Time - 2:24
Temperature - 92
Umpires - Home - Mike Muchlinski, First Base - Jeff Kellogg, Second Base - Chad Fairchild, Third Base - Paul Schrieber