CHICAGO — The Pirates are headed to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, clinching at least a National League wild card Monday night when they beat the Cubs 2-1 and the Nationals lost to the Cardinals.
It will be Pittsburgh's first postseason since trip Barry Bonds, Jim Leyland and company won three straight NL East titles from 1990-92. Bonds then left for the Giants as a free agent, and the Pirates piled up 20 consecutive losing records, the longest streak in the four major professional sports.
The Pirates snapped a tie at 1 when Starling Marte homered off Kevin Gregg with two outs in the ninth into the leftfield bleachers.
They preserved the victory on the final out when centerfielder Andrew McCutchen picked up Ryan Sweeney's bloop single after the ball hit off rightfielder Marlon Byrd's glove and threw to first baseman Justin Morneau, positioned just in front of home. Morneau relayed to catcher Russell Martin, who tagged out Nate Schierholtz.