The Pittsburgh Pirates clinched their first winning Major League Baseball season since 1992 with a 1-0 victory over the Texas Rangers.
Rookie Gerrit Cole had a career-high nine strikeouts over seven scoreless innings last night in Arlington, Texas, to outpitch Yu Darvish of the Rangers. Pittsburgh scored its lone run with two outs in the seventh inning on back-to-back doubles by Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez.
The Pirates improved to 82-61 with 19 games remaining and are assured of ending their run of 20 consecutive losing seasons, the longest in the four major North American professional sports. Pittsburgh had lost a season-high four straight games before last night’s win.
The Pirates are one game behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central Division and lead the race for one of the NL’s two wild-card playoff berths. They last reached the postseason in 1992, when they went 96-66 and lost in the NL Championship Series for a third straight year.
The Rangers (81-62) lost for the fourth time in five games, yet still lead the American League wild card standings and are two games behind the Oakland Athletics in the AL West.
Managers Joe Girardi of the Yankees and Buck Showalter of the Orioles engaged in a heated on-field verbal exchange after the first inning. Both benches briefly emptied during the incident, which stemmed from accusations that the Orioles were stealing signs from Yankees catcher Austin Romine about which pitches were being thrown.
“If I feel something, I’ll express it,” Showalter was quoted as saying by MLB.com. “Simple as that. And Joe will, too. I don’t get into the history or the protocol. It strikes a chord in me and I stand accused. And so does Joe. We’ve got two good teams and we’re competing for something very special with 19 or 20 games left, and nobody’s going to apologize here for caring about giving both of our teams the best chance to win.”
Chris Tillman had nine strikeouts over seven innings to pick up his 16th win of the season for the Orioles (77-66), who are 1 1/2 games behind the Rays in the wild card race. Baltimore is tied with the Cleveland Indians, who defeated the Kansas City Royals 4-3 yesterday.
Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals pitched a one-hit shutout in a 9-0 win over the New York Mets and was backed by five home runs. Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before pinch-hitter Zach Lutz broke it up with a leadoff single that looped onto the first base line.
Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers was denied his 20th win of the season for the second straight outing, allowing five runs over four innings in a 5-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Scherzer (19-3) has lost consecutive starts for the first time this season.
The Tigers (82-62) have lost five of their past six games and lead the AL Central by 4 1/2 games over the Indians.
The Atlanta Braves halted a four-game losing skid yesterday with a 5-2 win over the Miami Marlins that pushes them past the Boston Red Sox for the best record in the majors. The Braves have an 86-57 mark, while the Red Sox, who didn’t play yesterday, are 87-58.
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