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Baseball's first month sees surprising performance from Red Sox, Pirates

The first month of the baseball season is drawing to a close, and 2013 is already shaping up to be a memorable one. April has seen some impressive performances and new faces. While it's hard to come to any clear conclusions based on just one month of action, there are a things baseball fans everywhere can take away from the early going.

Are the Pittsburgh Pirates for real?
No team in Major League Baseball history has been mired in the rut in which the Pirates find themselves. Despite being one of the most storied franchises in league history, the Pirates have not had a winning season since 1992 when they advanced to the National League Championship Series. Their 20 straight losing seasons is a league record. However, the Pirates entered April 30 with a 15-11 record, and not only are they on pace to break the streak but they sit at first place in the NL Central.

Red Sox surprise
Entering the season, the Boston Red Sox had very low expectations, and many analysts thought they could potentially finish last in the competitive AL East. As April turns to May, nothing has been further from the truth. Paced by shutdown pitching from Clay Bucholtz and Jon Lester, the Sox have sprinted out of the gate to take first in the division and end April with the most wins in the league. 

Upton brothers help Braves
One of the big storylines of the offseason was the fact that the Atlanta Braves signed both Justin and B.J. Upton, and the move seems to have paid off. At the end of April, Justin Upton was among the hottest hitters in the league - smacking 12 home runs and amassing 19 RBIs. While B.J. Upton has not had as robust numbers as his younger brother, the two have played an integral role in helping pace the Braves to first place in the NL East. 

Wild weather grabs headlines 
The Minnesota Twins may be playing a number of double-headers later on after some spring snow derailed some of their home games in April. So far this season, the Twins have had to postpone four games due to snow - maybe leaving the Metrodome wasn't such a great idea after all. 

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