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Snider's pinch-hit homer gives Pirates 81st victory of season

AP - The Pirates manager Clint Hurdle (right) congratulates Travis Snider (23) after Snider's home run in the ninth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Pirates manager Clint Hurdle (right) congratulates Travis Snider (23) after Snider's home run in the ninth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
AP - The Pirates' Travis Snider reacts as he crosses home after hitting a home run during the ninth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Pirates' Travis Snider reacts as he crosses home after hitting a home run during the ninth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Gerrit Cole pitches in the bottom of the first inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Gerrit Cole pitches in the bottom of the first inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
AP - The Brewers' Norichika Aoki reacts as he fouls a pitch off his foot during the third inning against the Pirates on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Brewers' Norichika Aoki reacts as he fouls a pitch off his foot during the third inning against the Pirates on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
AP - The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen hits a single during the third inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen hits a single during the third inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
AP - The Pirates' Gerrit Cole throws during the first inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Pirates' Gerrit Cole throws during the first inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Marlon Byrd misses the diving catch allowing the Brewers' Jean Segura to double in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Marlon Byrd misses the diving catch allowing the Brewers' Jean Segura to double in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
AP - The Pirates' Travis Snider rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the ninth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Pirates' Travis Snider rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the ninth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Marlon Byrd hits a single, scoring Andrew McCutchen in the top of the third inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Marlon Byrd hits a single, scoring Andrew McCutchen in the top of the third inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
AP - The Pirates' Marlon Byrd can't come up with a ball hit by the Brewers' Jean Segura during the first inning Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Pirates' Marlon Byrd can't come up with a ball hit by the Brewers' Jean Segura during the first inning Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Justin Morneau hits a single in the top of the sixth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Justin Morneau hits a single in the top of the sixth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Neil Walker breaks his bat and flies out to right field during the top of the third inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Neil Walker breaks his bat and flies out to right field during the top of the third inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen celebrates in the dugout after reaching on a hit by Marlon Byrd in the top of the third inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen celebrates in the dugout after reaching on a hit by Marlon Byrd in the top of the third inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the top of the first inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the top of the first inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
AP - The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen hits a single during the third inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee. McCutchen also hit his 100th career home run in the first inning.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen hits a single during the third inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee. McCutchen also hit his 100th career home run in the first inning.
ASSOCIATED PRESS - The Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy hits a two-run single during the first inning against the Pirates on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>ASSOCIATED PRESS</em></div>The Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy hits a two-run single during the first inning against the Pirates on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Marlon Byrd hits a double, scoring Andrew McCutchen in the top of the eighth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Marlon Byrd hits a double, scoring Andrew McCutchen in the top of the eighth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen rounds second base on a hit by Justin Morneau in the top of the eighth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen rounds second base on a hit by Justin Morneau in the top of the eighth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
AP - The Pirates' Marlon Byrd hits an RBI double during the eighth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Pirates' Marlon Byrd hits an RBI double during the eighth inning against the Brewers on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, in Milwaukee.

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Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, 11:33 p.m.
 

MILWAUKEE — Travis Snider emphatically clapped his hands a single time as he rounded first base in the ninth inning Tuesday.

His soaring home run off Brewers reliever Jim Henderson landed well up in the second level at Miller Park. The blast gave the Pirates a 4-3 victory and with it the Pirates' 81st win of the season.

Snider's pinch-hit homer secured the Pirates' first non-losing season in 21 years. His clap symbolically slammed the door on the longest streak of consecutive losing seasons in North American pro sports, provided the Pirates don't lose 24 consecutive games and then qualify, and lose in, a one-game playoff.

“I was fired up,” Snider said. “We all know what is at stake.”

Yes, 82 wins is the more meaningful benchmark. That win total guarantees a winning season. But 81 meant something.

“It was on our to-do list,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “I'm happy for the Clemente family. ... They told me we can't have 21 losing seasons. We've got to find a way not to have Roberto's number tied to that.”

The Pirates have bigger goals in mind. They hold a two-game NL Central lead over the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost again to the Reds on Tuesday.

Andrew McCutchen has been part of more of the losing than most of his teammates. In his first postseason chase, he has played like an MVP. He hit his 100th career home run and scored three runs Tuesday.

“It feels like a dream,” McCutchen said.

But most of the Pirates, including starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, have had little to do with the streak.

A day after Cole's second birthday — Sept. 9, 1992 — was the last time the Pirates reached 81 wins.

The 22-year-old Cole helped the Pirates get to 81 wins Tuesday, allowing two runs in six innings and matching Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo.

Cole again struggled early. He walked Norichika Aoki leading off the bottom of the inning. Jean Segura followed with a double, and Jonathan Lucroy followed with a two-run single to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead.

But Cole settled.

The Pirates want to see more innings like the third, when Cole struck out Segura swinging on a slider that dropped out of the zone and fanned Aramis Ramirez on another offspeed pitch. In the sixth, Cole struck out Ramirez and Carlos Gomez with 98 mph fastballs.

Cole has been with the Pirates for three months; Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau arrived last week. Both recent trade acquisitions were contributors Tuesday. Morneau went 3 for 3 and drove in McCutchen to tie the score, 2-2, in the third.

Byrd drove in McCutchen in the eighth with a double to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead before Vin Mazzaro allowed an RBI single in the eighth to tie the score.

“That's why we went and got these guys,” Hurdle said, “They are impact bats.”

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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