CHICAGO — The Pittsburgh Pirates are headed to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, clinching at least a National League wild card Monday night when they beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 and the Washington Nationals lost to St. Louis.
It will be Pittsburgh's first trip to the postseason since Barry Bonds, Jim Leyland and Co. won three straight NL East titles from 1990-92. Bonds then left for San Francisco as a free agent, and the small-budget Pirates piled up 20 consecutive losing seasons — the longest streak in major professional sports.
Starling Marte hit a tiebreaking homer off Kevin Gregg (2-6) in the ninth inning at Wrigley Field, and the Pirates threw out a runner at the plate for the final out. Back in the visitors' clubhouse, they doused each other in champagne once St. Louis' 4-3 win over the Nationals went final.
Cincinnati also clinched at least a wild-card berth when it beat the Mets. The Pirates and Reds both trail first-place St. Louis by two games in the NL Central with five to go.
Chicago tied it in the eighth against Mark Melancon (3-2). Jason Grili escaped with his 32nd save in 34 chances.
REDS 3, METS 2, 10 INNINGS
CINCINNATI — Shin-Soo Choo drove in the winning run with a single off the wall in the 10th inning, and Cincinnati secured a playoff spot after beating New York.
The second-place Reds clinched at least an NL wild card when Washington lost to St. Louis. Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said there would be no celebration yet, not with a second straight NL Central title still in play.