They’ve finally done it

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The Pittsburgh Pirates clinched their first winning season since 1992 with a 1-0 win at Texas on Monday night. It gave the Pirates an 82-61 record with 19 games left to play in the regular season.

Some of the events that took place in 1992, when the Pirates finished first in the NL East with a 96-66 record included President George H.W. Bush meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin to formally declare that the Cold War was over; Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd President of the United States; the Toronto Blue Jays became the first team from Canada to win the World Series; the cost of a gallon of gasoline was an average of $1.05 and McDonald’s opened its first store in Beijing, China.

The Pirates went on to lose the NLCS in 1992 (the only NL playoff series in the two-division league) to Atlanta in seven games, and the Braves lost to the Blue Jays in the World Series.

Monday’s win was big, but the Pirates are looking for something even bigger…a World Series championship. Pittsburgh hasn’t won a World Series since 1979, the last time it played in the Fall Classic.

“Everybody’s here for a reason, and that’s to knock down things we haven’t done in a long time,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Long-suffering Pirates fans would be thrilled to make the playoffs, first.

“We don’t really understand what the fans have been through,” rookie pitcher Gerrit Cole said, after throwing seven scoreless innings to get Monday’s win. “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.”

The Pirates are in the middle of the NL Central race with St. Louis and Cincinnati, but are nearly assured of qualifying for the postseason with at least a wild-card berth. However, the Pirates aren’t taking anything lightly.

“As big as this win is for the city of Pittsburgh and the organization, we still have a lot of baseball to play,” Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. “We’ve got a lot of games we need to win.”

Top Rookies: This season’s crop of rookies have included rising stars such as Yasiel Puig, Jose Fernandez, Wil Myers and Jose Iglesias. Here’s a look at the top rookies and how they’ve done either at the plate or on the mound (through Monday):

AL Rookies –

  • Wil Myers, OF, Rays, .292 average, 11 HR, 42 RBI.
  • Jose Iglesias, SS, Tigers, .320 average (2nd among rookies).
  • J.B. Shuck, OF, Angels, .295 average (3rd among rookies), 38 RBI.
  • Nick Franklin, 2B, Mariners, 12 HR, 43 RBI.
  • Chris Archer, SP, Rays, 8-7, 3.19 ERA.
  • Martin Perez, SP, Rangers, 9-3, 3.41 ERA.

NL Rookies –

  • Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers, .343 average (1st among rookies), 15 HR, 34 RBI, 10 SB.
  • Evan Gattis, C-OF, Braves, 18 HR (1st among rookies), 52 RBI (1st among rookies).
  • Jedd Gyorko, 2B, Padres, 17 HR (2nd among rookies), 44 RBI.
  • Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies, 10 HR, 47 RBI (2nd among rookies).
  • Hyun jin Ryu, SP, Dodgers, 13-5 (most wins among rookies), 3.02 ERA.
  • Jose Fernandez, SP, Marlins, 11-6, 2.23 ERA.
  • Julio Teheran, SP, Braves, 11-7, 3.01 ERA.
  • Shelby Miller, SP, Cardinals, 12-9 (2nd-most wins among rookies), 3.19 ERA.
  • Zack Wheeler, SP, Mets, 7-4, 3.38 ERA.
  • Gerrit Cole, SP, Pirates, 7-7, 3.48 ERA.

StatsWatch: Here are the players with the most Runs Batted In this season (through Monday) –

  • Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, 133 RBI
  • Chris Davis, Orioles, 124 RBI
  • Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, 107 RBI
  • Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays, 104 RBI
  • Adam Jones, Orioles, 102 RBI
  • Brandon Phillips, Reds, 101 RBI
  • Prince Fielder, Tigers, 97 RBI
  • Robinson Cano, Yankees, 97 RBI
  • Allen Craig, Cardinals, 97 RBI
  • Freddie Freeman, Braves, 96 RBI

Diamond Notes: Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury has a broken bone in his right foot, but the Red Sox outfielder will likely return before the end of the regular season, according to manager John Farrell. The fracture is a small, hairline fracture. Ellsbury leads the major leagues with 52 stolen bases, along with a .299 average…New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has reinjured his surgically repaired left ankle and is out indefinitely. Jeter, whose ankle has been fractured twice since last October, did not break it again. Jeter has played in only 17 games this season, hitting just .190…Indians DH Jason Giambi got his 2,000th career hit on Sunday. Giambi, who has played with four different teams, has had his most hits with the Oakland A’s, a total of 1,100…A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon, 40, is the first pitcher in AL history to win 15 games for four different teams. He also has played for the Indians, White Sox and Angels…Detroit 1B Prince Fielder had a streak of 486 consecutive games played through Sunday, the longest active streak in the majors…The San Francisco Giants sold out their 237th straight regular-season home game on Sunday, despite the 49ers hosting Green Bay in the NFL season-opener…The Cleveland Indians, on the other hand, had just more than 13,000 fans in the seats for their home game on Sunday, with the NFL Browns hosting Miami.

Copyright ã 2013 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

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