Pirates clinch 1st playoff spot in 21 years

By the Associated Press | September 23, 2013 | 11:34 PM EDT

Home plate umpire Mike DiMuro calls Chicago Cubs' Nate Schierholtz out at home as Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin shows DiMuro the ball during the ninth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in Chicago. The Pirates won 2-1. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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

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.