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Pirates reclaim NL Central lead, two wins away from first winning season since 1992

Sep 2, 2013, 6:43 PM EDT

Pirates Getty Getty Images

Behind another strong start from Charlie Morton and a three-run home run from Neil Walker, the Pirates defeated the Brewers 5-2 at Miller Park this afternoon. The Cardinals lost to the Reds earlier in the day, which means that the Pirates now have a one-game lead in the National League Central.

Morton allowed two runs – one earned — over seven innings in the victory, striking out six and walking two. The 29-year-old hasn’t received much attention, but he has been very effective since returning from Tommy John surgery in June, posting a 3.00 ERA and 63/23 K/BB ratio in 90 innings over 15 starts. He has thrown at least seven innings in three out of his last four outings.

With today’s win, the Pirates now sit at 80-57 on the season. They only need two more wins for their first winning season since 1992. While that will be an important benchmark for the franchise, they have bigger goals in mind at this point.

  1. chill1184 - Sep 2, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    NL Central race is going down to the wire, going to be real interesting

    • markboucher301 - Sep 3, 2013 at 5:18 AM

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      • steelpenbucs87 - Sep 3, 2013 at 9:20 AM

        I think it’s fairly obvious that “Thomas” is a randomly selected name, but how spooky would it be if Chill1184’s actual first name was Thomas?

  2. joerevs300 - Sep 2, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    If St. Louis gets swept by Cincinnati and the Pirates can sweep Milwaukee, the Pirates could control their own destiny by winning the 3 game series this weekend against St. Louis, and then simply have to hold serve as STL would have no more H2H games remaining.

    The Pirates also have 9 games against Cincinnati remaining. So it’s definitely not over and the best division race remaining.

  3. florida76 - Sep 2, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    The Bucs are truly in a win-win situation, in good shape for the playoffs no matter what happens. With strong pitching and a great bullpen, they are well built for either a one game playoff or series. It’s all about getting in the tournament, and at this point before the season, no one on this planet had the Pirates in this position.

    In fact, even predicting a winning season wasn’t exactly a popular choice. The decisiveness of how the Pirates are ending the streak is quite a statement, and shutting down the naysayers is even sweeter. Whatever happens in the playoffs would be nice, but the goals have always been to end the streak and become a
    consistent contender.

    • chill1184 - Sep 2, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      Honestly when you look at it, I think the Pirates are the more complete team among the NL playoff teams. I wont be one bit surprised if the NL champion is a central team.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:35 AM

        Across the board…I give the Pirates credit. As a team they are solid.
        But their pitching in particular? Lights out all year.
        If you look at their lineup (strictly from an offensive standpoint)…
        Nothing really jumps out at you.
        Personally, I have always marveled at their ability to generate offense (based upon their day-to-day lineup). I mean…they don’t scare you offensively.
        But everyone just does their job. Impressive year from the Pirates.
        Gonna’ be an exciting division race!

      • sportsfan18 - Sep 3, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        stlouis1baseball

        Good points except there is one thing offensively that jumps out at me…

        He’s 5th in the NL in batting.

        He’s 4th in the NL in on base percentage

        He’s 10th in the NL in Slugging

        He’s 7th in the NL in OPS

        He’s 3rd in the NL in the total number of hits right now…

        He has the 7th most walks in the NL right now…

        He has the 4th most doubles in the NL right now…

        He has the 10th most RBI’s in the NL right now…

        He has the 6th most stolen bases in the NL right now…

        He’s scored the 7th most runs in the NL right now…

        I’m sorry, but to me being basically in the top 10 in about every offensive stat jumps out at me…

  4. padraighansen - Sep 3, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    As a lifelong Brewer fan….well, I’m really happy for Pittsburgh, and I’m pulling for them. GREAT stadium – maybe the best in all of baseball – and Pittsburgh is a great city, as well. Similar in many ways to Milwaukee.

    Good luck to Pittsburgh down the stretch – here’s hoping they pull off the NL Central Crown and do some damage in the playoffs.

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