PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — It’s something the Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t accomplished since 1992.
With their 7-4 win over the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on Friday night, the Bucs assured themselves of a winning record at the All-Star break, which begins on Monday.
If they are able to go two further and sweep the series, there’s a chance they could go into the break in first place in the NL Central.
As for Friday night’s game, Mike McKenry played the hero with his first major league home run. It was a three-run shot in the eighth inning that lifted the Pirates to victory.
“The pitching staff gave us a chance to play today and we battled at the plate, faced a good guy on the mound today and manufactured some runs,” said McKenry. “So, I guess everybody’s a hero today.
The rookie catcher’s drive deep into the left-field bleachers came off Cubs closer Carlos Marmol.
“It’s priceless. I mean these people are getting behind us. They are just absolutely priceless, the energy, the excitement,” added McKenry. “I got chills the other day with Joel on the mound and again tonight when I hit that home run. It’s awesome. Pittsburgh is unreal.”
Marmol blew his sixth save in 24 opportunities one batter earlier when he relieved Sean Marshall (5-3) and allowed Josh Harrison’s game-tying single.
The Pirates are 46-42 with two games left before the break.
The Pirates’ 18 consecutive losing seasons is the longest such stretch of futility in major North American professional sports history.
Daniel McCutchen (3-1) got the final out of the eighth inning for the win and Joel Hanrahan got his 26th save.
The Pirates and Cubs play again Saturday at 7:05 p.m.