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Pirates clinch 1st playoff spot in 21 years

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CHICAGO (AP) - The Pittsburgh Pirates are going to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.

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After two consecutive decades of losing, the Pirates (90-67) clinched 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 4-3.

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 records - the longest streak in the four major professional sports.

Starling Marte hit a tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning Monday night at Wrigley Field, and the Pirates threw out a runner at the plate for the final out.

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