The Pittsburgh Pirates clinched their first winning season since 1992 with a 1-0 win against the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
Rookie wonder pitcher Gerrit Cole pitched seven scoreless innings and got the win. He struck out nine and allowed three hits to help the Pirates break an embarrassing streak.
A lot has happened in Pittsbugh since the team finished 96-66 to top the NL East standings. That’s right, in 1992 the Pirates played in the NL East. Other teams in the east that year were the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and Montreal Expos.
The Expos are now the Washington Nationals and the Pirates, Cardinals and Cubs all play in the NL Central.
1992 was also the last year Barry Bonds played for the Pirates. He finished the season hitting.311 with 34 home runs and 104 RBIs and won the MVP. He left in free agency, signing with the San Francisco Giants for a then record $43 million over six years.
The Pirates have flirted with winning seasons over the last 21 years, but were finally able to overcome the hump in one of the more stressful games of the season. Cole faced off against Rangers stud pitcher Yu Darvish. Darvish was one batter away from pitching a perfect game earlier in the season and leads the league in strikeouts. The win also ended a four game losing streak for the Buccos.
Manager Clint Hurdle was ecstatic for the city and his players after the game:
“It’s going to touch a lot of people on a lot of different levels. We are aware of it. Everybody’s here for a reason, and that’s to knock down things we haven’t done in a long time.”
Gerrit Cole tried to keep the game in perspective, a move most players should try and mimic:
“We’re extremely happy to be able to make them (the fans) 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.”
The significance of the win for fans should not be undermined. Here is a fan video made for team this season:
The really good news for Pirates fans is that the team is good enough to make a deep playoff run. Pittsburgh has a strong offense anchored by Andrew McCutchen. The team has an even better pitching staff led by A.J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole. It truly is an exciting time to be a Pirates fan.
Did you know the Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1992?