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10/4/2015 | McCutchen, Rizzo carry biggest bats into big game

The pitching matchup for the NL Wild Card Game is awesome. But every game needs a big hit, and the likeliest candidates to deliver on Wednesday night are the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen and the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo.

10/4/2015 | There's hope for big-winning Wild Cards

The Pirates won 98 games; the Cubs, 97. And they still didn't win the NL Central. But they should take heart in knowing that there is precedence of teams winning in the upper-90s and not winning the division, yet capturing the World Series.

10/4/2015 | Cole driving Pirates' playoff train

He already has a nickname -- Cole Train, for the way he has steamed down a fast track since being the overall No. 1 pick in the 2011 Draft -- but Gerrit Cole could also go by "The Edge," if that hadn't already been taken by the famed guitarist.

10/4/2015 | Happ to it: Lefty leads Bucs to home field

J.A. Happ, a non-waiver Trade Deadline insurance acquisition who has paid a huge premium, pitched the Pirates into home-field advantage for the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, hurling six shutout innings Sunday in the Bucs' 4-0 victory over the Reds.

10/4/2015 | Pirates win right to host Cubs in WC Game

The Pirates already knew the what, who and when. Now, they know where. The Bucs will host the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser at 8 p.m. ET (on TBS) on Wednesday at PNC Park.

10/4/2015 | In postseason, Bucs aim to cross NLCS threshold

The Pirates, again, are stepping into the postseason. Their mission: Avoid, again, tripping over the threshold. Realizing the organization's goal of building a perennial contender, the Bucs are playoff threepeaters for only the third time in franchise history.

10/4/2015 | NL Wild Card position-by-position: Cubs-Pirates

The Cubs and Pirates battled each other all season in the National League Central, and now comes their most important matchup yet, in the NL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser on Wednesday night. Who has the advantage at each position?

10/4/2015 | Bucs notes: Cutch hurls ball into Allegheny

On Saturday night at PNC Park, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen reared back and heaved a rejected home-run ball over the stands, out of the yard, into the Allegheny River -- if not over it.

10/4/2015 | What's at stake in #Game162

Today we get a season finale like no other, and it is anything but regular. In a first-of-its-kind simultaneous set of cliffhangers, every team with uncertain postseason possibilities began playing at 3 p.m. ET, leading up to a flurry of dramatic walk-offs or precious final outs.

10/3/2015 | Bucs need win to ensure home-field edge in WC

The Pirates and Reds will wrap up the regular season Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. Cincinnati may not have much left to play for, but there is much at stake for Pittsburgh heading into the postseason.

10/3/2015 | Reds end skid, dent Bucs' home-field hopes

The Reds' 13 proved to be unlucky for the Pirates. As a result, the battle for home-field advantage in the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser is going down to the season's final day. Left-hander Brandon Finnegan muted the Pirates' bats Saturday to give Cincinnati a 3-1 win, ending the Reds' longest losing streak since 1945 at 13 straight.

10/3/2015 | In their hands: Bucs control Wild Card destiny

The Pirates' postseason plans are still on hold heading into Game 162. They know who they will play next week: the Cubs. They know when: Wednesday night at 8 ET (on TBS). But where? We'll find out Sunday afternoon.

10/3/2015 | Burnett emotional, appreciative after ovation

A.J. Burnett walked off a regular-season mound Saturday night for the final time, with two taps to his chest by his manager and the appreciative roars of 34,180 fans in his ears.

10/3/2015 | Hurdle praises Pirates' remarkable resiliency

In many ways, the Pirates' 97th win on Friday night was very much like the first 96, from haplessness to happiness.

10/3/2015 | Bucs officially name Cole as Wild Card starter

The Pirates announced the answer to one of the easiest questions in baseball: Gerrit Cole will start against the Cubs on Wednesday night in the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser (8 p.m. ET on TBS).

10/3/2015 | Pirates 'pen powers through for extra-inning win

The seven shutout innings pooled by six relievers cast the Bucs in a favorable light for the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, which they are now one win away from hosting at PNC Park on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

10/3/2015 | Bucs' focus on playing WC Game at PNC Park

On Friday, the Bucs moved within one step of securing Plan B: a one-game showdown at their home ballpark. By outlasting the Reds over 12 innings in a 6-4 win on Friday night, the Pirates shrank their magic number to host the NL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser to one.

10/2/2015 | Pirates can clinch home-field in WC behind Burnett

Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett will make the 430th and final regular-season start of his career Saturday night, possibly the last start of his 17-year career. Burnett will lead the Pirates against the Reds at PNC Park with a chance to guarantee that the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser will take place in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

10/2/2015 | RF Polanco nabs another runner at 1st base

Gregory Polanco is getting pretty good at this 9-3 putout thing. For the second time in 17 games, the Pirates' right fielder nailed a runner at first on a clean "hit." This time, the play saved a run because it came with a runner on third and two outs in the second inning of Friday's 6-4 win in 12 innings over the Reds at PNC Park.

10/2/2015 | Ramirez expects long run for Pirates

Aramis Ramirez has come full circle, and now he is about to close the circle. Ramirez played his first Major League game on May 26, 1998 as a 19-year-old third baseman for the Pirates. This weekend, he will end his career as a 37-year-old third baseman, once again with the Pirates.

10/2/2015 | Bucs walk off, inch closer to home-field in WC

The Pirates had to come from behind to stay ahead. They did that in dramatic fashion Friday night, when Starling Marte's two-run homer in the 12th inning gave them a 6-4 win over the Reds, after the Bucs trailed, 4-0, into the bottom of the third.

10/1/2015 | 5 things that changed the season for Pirates

Before looking at what lies ahead of the Bucs, let's first look back at the moments that helped them get here.

10/1/2015 | Pirates welcome Reds targeting WC home-field edge

After falling out of the National League Central race on Wednesday, the Pirates will turn their attention on Friday toward securing home-field advantage for next week's win-or-go-home date with the Cubs.

10/1/2015 | Hurdle knows Bucs have work cut out for them

Wherever they meet the Cubs in the NL Wild Card Game, it will be a difficult first hurdle for the Pirates' hopes for a deep postseason foray, as the Cubs took the season series, 11-8.