By Jason Shetler
2013 was certainly a year to remember for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Here are the notable happenings from the year that was.
February 8, 2013 – After initially agreeing to a two-year contract worth $14 million in December, the Pirates signed Francisco Liriano to a one-year deal for just $1 million, which included a 2014 vesting option worth $8 million.
April 17, 2013 – A.J. Burnett recorded his 2,000 career strikeout against the St. Louis Cardinals in a 5-0 victory.
May 11, 2013 – Francisco Liriano made his Pirates debut, as he went 5.1 innings, allowing just one run and striking out nine New York Mets in an 11-2 win.
June 6, 2013 – For the first time in franchise history, the Pirates had two first round draft picks, and selected outfielder Austin Meadows (9th overall) and catcher Reese McGuire (14th overall).
June 11, 2013 – Gerrit Cole made his much anticipated Major League debut against the San Francisco Giants. His first career strikeout came against Angel Pagan on a 99 mph fastball. Cole went 6.1 innings, while giving up just two runs in an 8-2 victory.
June 13, 2013 – After having Tommy John surgery performed on June 13, 2012, Charlie Morton made his 2013 season debut exactly one year to the date of having the elbow procedure. Although the Pirates lost to the Giants by a score of 10-0, Morton pitched well in his return, going five innings and allowing just two earned runs.
June 18, 2013 – The Pirates signed Reese McGuire for a signing bonus a little over $2.3 million.
June 23, 2013 – Aside from Tony Sanchez making his big league debut, the Pirates had their best come from behind win of the season. Trailing 6-3 to the Los Angeles Angels in the 9th, they tied the game on a Starling Marte RBI single. The Bucs scored four in the 10th and held off the Angels by a final of 10-9.
June 28, 2013 – The Pirates inked Austin Meadows to a $3 million signing bonus.
July 15, 2013 – Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Jason Grilli, Jeff Locke and Mark Melancon took part in the 2013 All-Star Game, marking the first time since 1972 that the Pirates had five players selected as All-Stars.
August 28, 2013 – In an effort to improve their lineup, the Pirates acquired Marlon Byrd along with John Buck from the New York Mets in exchange for reliever Vic Black and minor league infielder Dilson Herrera.
August 31, 2013 – After not getting much production out of Garrett Jones, the Pirates acquired former AL MVP Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins to become their primary first baseman.
September 9, 2013 – Simply put, this date will forever be known as the night the Pirates recorded their first winning season in 20 years.
September 23, 2013 – The Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs in a very dramatic 2-1 victory to give themselves at least a spot in the NL Wildcard Game.
September 28, 2013 – The Pirates took on the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark in the final series of the season. After taking the first game, the Bucs took the second game of the series, and guaranteed themselves the NL Wildcard Game at PNC Park.
October 1, 2013 – The Pirates defeated the Reds in the NL Wildcard Game by a final score of 6-2. Francisco Liriano went seven innings and gave up just one run, while Russell Martin hit a pair of home runs.
November 4, 2013 – Francisco Liriano was named the 2013 National League Comeback Player of the Year.
November 12, 2013 – Clint Hurdle became the first Pirates skipper since Jim Leyland in 1992 to win the National League Manager of the Year.
November 14, 2013 – Andrew McCutchen captured the 2013 National League Most Valuable Player Award, becoming the seventh Pirate in history to win the honor.