The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

September 9, 2013

Pirates finally assured of winning season

(Continued)

ARLINGTON, Texas —

They finally have their winning season after taking the opener of a three-game interleague series between wild-card leaders.

"It's a huge deal for me. It certainly thrills me to be a part of that," said Pirates hitting coach Jay Bell, the shortstop on that 1992 team.

"I understand the significance of this game, the 82nd win, more than probably at least most of the players here," said second baseman Neil Walker, the team's first-round pick in 2004. "As big as this win is for the city of Pittsburgh and the organization, and as big a deal as the media is going to make out of it, we still have a lot of baseball to play. We've got a lot of games we need to win, we're in a tight race."

The Pirates moved within a game of NL Central-leading St. Louis, which swept Pittsburgh in three games over the weekend.

Texas lost for the fourth time in five games, and still needs one more win to clinch its fifth consecutive winning season. The Rangers dropped two games behind idle AL West-leading Oakland.

Darvish is 0-3 his last five starts, all Rangers losses. The Japanese right-hander struck out six while allowing one run and four hits over seven innings. He threw a season-low 81 pitches before coming out because of cramping in his right leg.

Manager Ron Washington said the move was precautionary.

"We needed him to step up and he stepped up tonight, he really threw the ball well, he moved the ball around well, he kept it down in the zone, he did a good job," Washington said. "He's in great shape. It's just something that flared up. If that's all that's wrong with him, and the way he pitched out there tonight, I'll take it."

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