The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

September 4, 2013

After 20 years, Pirates snap run of losing seasons

MILWAUKEE — This one was for Roberto Clemente. The Hall of Famer's retired jersey is still the only 21 that matters for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pinch-hitter Travis Snider homered in the ninth inning to lift Pittsburgh to a 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night that clinched the Pirates' first non-losing record in two decades.

Clemente played right field for Pittsburgh and finished his career with exactly 3,000 hits. He died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while trying to deliver food and relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

"The one family I'm happy for is the Clemente family," manager Clint Hurdle said. "They told me earlier in the season that we can't have 21 losing seasons, that we've got to find a way to not have Roberto's number tied to that. I told them we'd find a way to take care of that. It's been taken care of."

Snider drove a 2-2 pitch from Jim Henderson (3-5) over the wall in center for his second pinch-hit homer of the season. He also accomplished the feat against the Chicago Cubs on May 21.

It was victory No. 81 for Pittsburgh, ensuring it will not finish with a losing record for the first time since it went 96-66 in 1992. More importantly, it boosted the Pirates' lead in the NL Central to two games over St. Louis.

"It was on our to-do list," Hurdle said. "We'll move on from here. Our plans are continue to play and compete and go further."

Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his 11th save, striking out Khris Davis with a runner on second to make it four straight wins for Pittsburgh at Miller Park for the first time since 2002. The Pirates lost 44 of 51 games in Milwaukee from 2007-2012.

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