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Pirates defeat Cardinals, will enter September in first place for first time since 1992

Aug 31, 2013, 10:35 PM EDT

Russell Martin, Garrett Jones, Marlon Byrd AP

Tied with the Cardinals at 78 wins and 56 losses, the Pirates defeated their NL Central rival tonight by a score of 7-1 to move into sole possession of first place. They will enter September in first place for the first time since 1992, the last year the Pirates made the post-season. (It was also Barry Bonds’ final season with the franchise.)

A.J. Burnett held the Cardinal offense at bay, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out six over seven innings. The offense was relentless early as Burnett and Jose Tabata each knocked RBI singles off of Cardinals starter Lance Lynn in the second. Then, in the third, Marlon Byrd hit an RBI single, Russell Martin crushed a three-run home run to center, and Neil Walker laced an RBI triple for a five-spot to go up 7-1. Vin Mazzarro pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth as the Pirates wrapped up an easy victory.

First baseman Justin Morneau, recently acquired from the Twins for outfielder Alex Presley, joined the team during the game but was not used.

In other debut news, reliever John Axford made his Cardinals debut, retiring the Pirates in order in the bottom of the seventh. The Cardinals acquired Axford from the Brewers yesterday for a player to be named later.

  1. chill1184 - Aug 31, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    Happy to see Byrd continue to produce for the Buccos

    • brentphillip - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:42 AM

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  2. cackalackyank - Aug 31, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    It is really great to see this great historic organization back in contention. I just hope that if they finally win again that the owners don’t do a Loria and sell off the winning combination.

  3. pensman29 - Aug 31, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    No this ownership and management really seem committed to building a winner. I can’t remember the last time the pirates had that

  4. jcmeyer10 - Aug 31, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Neutral AL fan who is rooting for the Buccos to finally break this streak. Had to wait 86 years for a WS win but still feel like I suffered less than you Pirates fans.

    • jjschiller - Sep 1, 2013 at 1:07 AM

      Two people either are Cardinals fans, or don’t believe that you’re 95 years old.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 3, 2013 at 9:31 AM

        This Cardinals fan is happy for Pittsburgh (and the NL Central by extension).
        It’s hard to illustrate…
        But I just feel like baseball is better when Pittsburgh is contention.

  5. thomas844 - Aug 31, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    This Reds fan is excited to see the Pirates doing so well. Their fans deserve to see some good baseball in that town for a change. I’m also excited at how well the NL Central will be represented in the playoffs as long as all three teams keep pace. Three teams from the same division in the playoffs would truly be a treat to watch.

  6. papacrick - Sep 1, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    Jim Leyland is loving it too. It’s weird seeing a manager so excited for a competitor’s success but its acceptable when your a crusty old pimp rooting for your home town boys

    • Kevin S. - Sep 1, 2013 at 6:16 AM

      Not sure I’d call the Pirates and Tigers competitors. And while I’m sure Leyland is just wanting to see a former team of his return to some success, the cynic would note that Pittsburgh is the team you’d most like to face out of the five probable NL playoff teams.

  7. modellforprez - Sep 1, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    Cardinal or as i prefer Red Pigeon fans Come to our stadium all arrogant and cocky and i get it my Steelers been doing that to teams for how long 42 years but anyway we beat Now enjoy the Shitty Hotel food and Bed Bugs and Get the Fuck out!!!!

    • govtminion - Sep 1, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      I dare you to make less sense.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 3, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      I have no idea what the hell Art just posted. Can someone translate for me?
      Is this some new kind of language? I have read it three times. Now my head hurts.

  8. xmatt0926x - Sep 1, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Not a fan but I’ve rooted for them to get over the winning season hump for several years just to watch them fail. I always thought the problem was that the ownership group never made a splash at the trade deadline. It’s nice to stockpile prospects but at some point your either sincerely trying to go for it or not.

    This year they are actually dealing for guys and appear to really be going for it all. Good for them. It’s crazy that there’s a whole generation of fans there who have no idea of what a winning baseball season is or how effin’ awesome October baseball is. I hope they have a deep run this year.

  9. misterj167 - Sep 1, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    I’m old enough to remember the days when the Pirates were a perennial force in the NL, with Clemente and then Stargell, and guys like Dave Parker and Kent Tekulve, always great to watch, and even as a Braves fan while I was happy they won against them in ’91 and ’92 I felt bad they were so bad for so long.

    There’s not going to be any “choking” by anyone in the NL this year, the Pirates are a great and classy young team, the Reds and Cards are also awesome. It’s going to be a great playoff season in the NL and I’m looking forward to watching it, regardless of who wins. Raise the Jolly Roger, congrats Bucs!

  10. Stiller43 - Sep 1, 2013 at 4:51 AM

    Great to see such class from other teams wishing the pirates well. Wish some of the burgh fans had the class you did…

  11. aceshigh11 - Sep 1, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    I’m very happy for these guys…they’re playing their hearts out and firing on all cylinders.

  12. theageofquarrel - Sep 1, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    RAISE THE JOLLY ROGAH ONCE AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. steelers88 - Sep 1, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Umm Kevin S I think Pittsburgh would be one of the worst teams to play in the playoffs. They have strong starting pitching, a strong bullpen with Jason Grilli com

  14. steelers88 - Sep 1, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Umm Kevin S I don’t think the Pirates will be a team that other teams want to play in the playoffs. The Pirates have great starting pitching, a great bullpen with their all star closer Jason Grilli coming back at the end of this week. Even the Pirates offense is on the upswing Pirates Lineup: 1. Marte LF 2. Walker 2B 3. McCutchen CF. 4.Alvarez 3B 5.Byrd RF 6.Morneau 1B. 7.Martin C 8. Mercer SS 9. SP. The Pirates now actually have a pretty deep lineup. Also the Pirates bench is extremely deep now. They are a gritty team that doesn’t give up. They will not be an easy out come playoff time.

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