By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — From the jaws of even more heartache, the Pirates pulled out a gem at Wrigley Field’s historic home plate.

Then, a short time later, the celebration was on as the Washington Nationals lost and the Pirates were assured post-season action.

“You can’t beat this,” said Jason Grilli, Pirates reliever. “This is what it’s all about. Hopefully, one of many.”

“Guys have gone out and played hard all year, that’s really what it’s been about,” added Pirates infielder Neil Walker. “It hasn’t been about offense, defense, catching, whatever. This is a team effort.”

As much as the victory is about the guys who crowded in for a jubilant picture, they also know it means a lot more.

“I’m happy to be wearing this uniform and be a part of it,” said Andrew McCutchen, Pirates outfielder. “Happy to have this opportunity; it’s been a long time coming.”

“I’m happy for the entire city,” Clint Hurdle, the Pirates manager, said. “I’m happy for the fan base. We still have significant work to do, but this is a significant first step.”

At first light here at home, long-suffering fans were anxiously snapping up playoff merchandise.

“I have a 29-year-old son who doesn’t remember them ever winning, and I grew up in the ‘70s, it means a lot,” said fan Rich Foust, of the North Side.

North Side businesses are anxious to see if any of the games will be played at PNC Park.

“That’s going to be huge, huge for the city,” said Ed Barry, of Dominic’s Deli. “All the restaurants and hotels, everybody, just a big boost to the economy.

“The deeper we get into the playoffs, the more business, the more revenue it’s going to mean for the city,” said Jason Fulvi, of VisitPittsburgh.

But that’s yet to be determined. At the moment, this is about cleansing away the demons of the past and reveling in the now.

“For the City of Pittsburgh, for the team itself, for each and every person who works hard day in-day out, it’s a great time to be a Bucco fan,” said fan Chas Kellem, of the North Side.

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