CHICAGO - For the first time since 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to the Major League Baseball playoffs.
The Pirates clinched a post-season trip with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Monday, combined with a Washington loss at St. Louis, also ending a futility streak of 21 consecutive losing seasons.
"The fans in Pittsburgh have been waiting a long time for the baseball team to come back and play winning baseball," said Pirates second baseman Neil Walker.
"I've been a part of this organization since 2004. I've seen a lot of players, seen a lot of up, seen a lot of downs, but we knew we had a special group here.
"We've got ourselves an opportunity now and that's all we can ask for."
The Pirates won three division titles in a row from 1990 through 1992 with a young Barry Bonds, the major league home run king, in the lineup. But that group never reached the World Series, a feat that has not been accomplished by the Pirates since their 1979 championship.
This year's team has been impressive in its own right, winning 90 games against 67 defeats, and it remains in the hunt for a National League Central division title. At the very worst, the Pirates will play in next Tuesday's NL wildcard playoff game.
"This has been a great run and it's great that we get to continue," said Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
Pittsburgh's youngest player, 23-year-old pitcher Gerrit Cole, was just past his second birthday the last time the Pirates had a playoff game.
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