Pirates 1, Rangers 0

The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Back-to-back, two-out doubles from Pittsburgh's Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez in the seventh inning provided the Pirates all the cushion they would need to beat the Texas Rangers and ace Yu Darvish 1-0 Monday night at Rangers Ballpark.

By winning their 82nd game of the season, the Pirates clinched their first winning season since 1992.

Pirates youngster Gerrit Cole pitched a three-hit gem that helped snap the Pirates' season-long losing skid at four games and pulled them within one game of the St. Louis Cardinals for the lead in the National League Central.

Meanwhile, the Rangers' deficit in the American League West grew to two games with the Oakland A's taking the night off. The A's come to Texas on Friday for a three-game set, the final series between the two clubs that have battled back-and-forth all season for the division title.

Darvish fell to 12-8, but he did have the bounce-back start the Rangers needed until surrendering the two crushing doubles in the seventh inning. With two out, Byrd smoked a double into the left-field corner. Alvarez followed with a line drive to center that scored Byrd for the 1-0 lead.

Darvish would limit the damage to the one run, but the hard-throwing right-hander would not come out for the eighth inning due to cramping in the lower part of his right leg.

His night ended after just 81 pitches. He allowed four hits, struck out six and walked one. He didn't allow a runner past first base until the seventh-inning doubles.

Rangers officials said the team did not want to risk injury by allowing Darvish, the major's strikeout leader, to continue. The team said he underwent treatment and, at this point, is expected to make his next start on Saturday against the A's.

Davish, who last notched a win on Aug. 12, allowed just three runners in the first five innings.

He gave up a two-out single in the first inning to Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, and in the fourth he induced a double-play grounder after hitting leadoff hitter Byrd. Darvish then walked Russell Martin, but got out of the inning by getting Garrett Jones to softly ground out to second.

His counterpart, Cole, outdueled Texas' Cy Young candidate, pitching seven scoreless innings and allowing just three hits, all singles with two outs. He struck out nine and at one point four in a row, including striking out the side in the fifth inning.

His only trouble came in the sixth after he consecutively walked Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios with two outs. After a double steal that moved the runners to second and third, Cole got cleanup hitter Adrian Beltre to ground out to shortstop.

Cole, a UCLA product who was searching for his first win since Aug. 16, then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning, ending his night at 92 pitches, 64 of which were strikes.

Pirates left-handed reliever Tony Watson retired the Rangers in order in the eighth and right-hander Mark Melancon closed it out in the ninth.

NOTES: Rangers left fielder Jim Aducci left the game with right biceps strain. He is listed as day-to-day. ... Andrus set a career high with his 38th stolen base of the season in the sixth inning. His previous high was 37 in 2011. He also tied Bump Wills with 161 career stolen bases for second on the club's all-time list, nine behind leader Ian Kinsler. ... The Pirates' lone run in the seventh inning snapped Darvish's 19 2/3 scoreless inning streak against National League teams. He last gave up a run to an NL on May 27 at Arizona.
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