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The Pittsburgh Pirates began the 2014 season in a fashion rather unbecoming after they finally ended professional sports’ longest losing streak with 95 victories last year and pushed the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals to five games in the 2013 National League Division Series.

By May 20, the Pirates were 8 games under .500 at 18-26, 8 games back of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers and 5.5 out of a playoff spot. The team looked listless as their playoff odds plummeted daily.

But nearly two months later, the Pirates are back in contention after posting one of the league’s best records since early May. They won 15 of their last 22 games before the break and own a record of 49-46, placing them 3.5 back of Milwaukee...

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