Published September 01, 2013
The Pittsburgh Pirates mean business.
At 79-56, following Saturday night's 7-1 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pirates gained sole possession of first place in the NL Central and are three wins shy of securing their first .500-plus season since 1992.
That was Barry Bond's final year with Pittsburgh before he joined the San Francisco Giants as a free agent. Those '92 Bucs finished 96-66, winning the NL East before dropping a heartbreaking Game 7 to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS.
Since then the Pirates have suffered 20 consecutive losing seasons, winning no more than 79 games. After their move to the NL Central in 1994, they placed second once (in '97) and last nine times -- including four last-place finishes in a row from 2007-'10.
But on the morning of Sept. 1, 2013, the Bucs will be sitting in first place, one game ahead of the Cardinals and 3½ in front of the Cincinnati Reds. The Pirates will look to complete a three-game home sweep of the Cardinals on Sunday.
Of the 27 remaining regular-season games, three are at St. Louis next weekend and six are against the Reds -- three home games on Sept. 20-22 and three in Cincy on the final weekend.
As FOX Sports.com Senior Writer points out in the video above, the Pirates aren't messing around. They acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck from the Mets on Tuesday and traded for Twins first baseman Justin Morneau on Saturday.
Players added before the end of the month are eligible for the postseason roster.
The Morneau addition -- and back-to-back wins over the Cardinals -- brought much joy from Pirates fans.
Welcome to the Bucs Justin Morneau! #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/v85PKtxRgQ
-- Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 1, 2013 Raise the Jolly Roger! Way to go Buccos with back to back bashings of the Redbirds! Entering Sept in sole possession of 1st! #BUCN #Pirates
-- Gregory Charlebois (@Geepster5) September 1, 2013 Morneau looks great in the black and gold #BucN @Pirates ¿¿¿¿¿¿
-- Danielle Addicott (@DAddicott) September 1, 2013 I think the pirates are taking the World Series this year
-- Cristian Moreno (@c_moreno1) September 1, 2013 so excited for @Pirates postseason!!!
-- JAKE (@giff1017) September 1, 2013