CINCINNATI -- The shot at the National League Central title expired on Friday night, giving Clint Hurdle a head start on his 2014 to-do list.
"Winning the division got to be pushed to next year," the Pirates manager said. "The Cardinals earned their division rights, no doubt. A very solid team that finished very strong."
On the bright side, St. Louis' clincher confirmed that the Pirates are in the midst of essentially a four-game series with the Reds, the three-game regular-season windup here followed by their Tuesday Wild Card Game.
And four-game series have been very good for the Bucs, who did not lose any until the ninth and last, when the San Diego Padres took three-of-four two weeks ago at PNC Park.
"Yeah, we're now locked into a four-game series with this club. Four-game series have been definitely interesting for us," Hurdle said. "They've played out successfully more often than not."
The site of Tuesday's game has yet to be determined. The Pirates are undefeated in four-game road series, winning three and splitting two others.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.