MLB

Pit
3
FINAL
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
0
1
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
3
12
1
0
2
5
0
0
0
2
0
x
9
13
0
TV:
Mil
9

Determined Pirates press on after ending "Streak"

Share This Story

   
 

MILWAUKEE (AP)

Toast them with a bottle of Iron City. Wear that 1970s-era Pittsburgh painter's cap with pride. Celebrate the end of ''The Streak.''

Just don't expect the Pirates to join in the fun. There's an NL Central title to win.

The Pirates ended their 20-year run of losing baseball Tuesday night, reaching the 81-win mark with a 4-3 victory at Miller Park.

''I've won 81 games before, and this team is going to win more than 81 games. A lot more,'' newly acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd said before Wednesday night's game at Milwaukee.

Win No. 82 will have to wait.

The Pirates lost 9-3 in game interrupted for a couple minutes in the fifth after Brewers starter Wily Peralta (9-14) plunked left-handed cleanup hitter Justin Morneau in the forearm following Andrew McCutchen's 19th homer of the year.

Morneau slowly walked to first and gestured to Peralta. The benches emptied and relievers scurried in from bullpens as far as short right and left, but the umpires quickly took control and the teams never got close to making physical contact.

McCutchen and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke each defused the situation afterward. McCutchen said he was looking for the ball after hitting his homer and wasn't trying to show up Peralta; Roenicke said Peralta wasn't trying to plunk Morneau, but he understood why the Pirates first baseman got upset.

The determined Pirates showed some spunk.

''It's about changing the culture, and they've done that the past two years,'' Byrd said before the game. ''This was inevitable that this team was going to get to this point.''

Easy for him to say. He recently joined the club, obtained from the Mets in a deal to bolster the lineup for the playoff push.

Second baseman Neil Walker, on the other hand, is a little more passionate. He grew up in Pittsburgh and still lives in the Steel City.

Walker was bombarded with messages on his Twitter account Tuesday night.

''To be part of this group that has righted the ship, per se, in the win column is pretty significant. I don't think anybody is going to admit that too much in here just because baseball players are so superstitious,'' Walker said.

''But the fact that I've lived and breathed Pirates baseball since I can remember, being a baseball fan since I was 5 or 6 years old, it holds a little more significance to me.''

Left-handed starter Francisco Liriano (15-7) gave up seven runs, seven hits and two wild pitches in three innings Wednesday. Trailing 7-3, the Pirates loaded the bases in the seventh to bring up the tying run with two outs, but reliever Donovan Hand got John Buck to fly out to right-center to end the inning.

All-Star closer Jason Grilli, in his first appearance since July 22 after coming off the DL for a right forearm strain, allowed a hit and struck out two in the eighth. Manager Clint Hurdle liked what he saw, calling Grilli's velocity ''firm.''

The Pirates took a one-game lead over the Cardinals into a three-game series in St. Louis. Cincinnati was 3 1/2 games back after a 16-inning loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday night.

Pittsburgh is aiming to finish first and avoid a best-of-one matchup between wild cards.

''We are trying to win every day. Every game is important from the first to the last, so we don't treat it any differently from any other game,'' said about the upcoming series against the Cardinals. ''We go out every day to win. That is what we are going to do in St. Louis.''

No matter what, at least the Pirates don't have to answer any more questions about the drought.

In western Pennsylvania, ''The Streak'' made one segment of fans miserable. Others viewed the franchise like lovable losers, the ''Bad News Bears'' of sorts of the majors.

The Pirates went 20 years, 11 months and 26 days since they last had 81 wins in a season.

More perspective on the two-decade run of misery since 1992:

-The Pirates were 1,374-1,796 during the streak for a .437 winning percentage.

-The Penguins and Steelers had seven losing seasons combined during that period.

-The franchise went through three ownership groups and seven managers, including Hurdle.

The skipper said he was humbled by all the messages that he had received.

''And they're not from my buddies. They're actually from people that we've come to know in the North Hills (suburbs) and the city of Pittsburgh that have reached out,'' he said. ''The emails and texts are quite meaningful.''

After the game Tuesday, Hurdle said he was especially happy for the family of Roberto Clemente, the late Hall of Famer who wore No. 21.

''They told me earlier in the season that we can't have 21 losing seasons, that we've got to find a way to not have Roberto's number tied to that,'' Hurdle said. ''I told them we'd find a way to take care of that. It's been taken care of.''

The Pirates seemed loose before Wednesday's game, but there were no cases of champagne waiting on ice. No trophy in another room waiting to be presented in a pregame ceremony.

Outfielder Travis Snider, whose pinch-hit homer in the ninth led to Tuesday's win, talked fantasy football. Others watched the ever-present baseball highlights on the big-screen TVs.

McCutchen, the Pirates' MVP candidate, put it best. He posted a simple message on his Twitter account shortly after the Pirates got win No. 81.

''Keep going ...''

---

AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.

---

Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP

Tagged: Brewers, Pirates, Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Cardinals, Justin Morneau

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..