- Associated Press - Sunday, September 11, 2011

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pirates general manager Neal Huntington was given a three-year contract extension through the 2014 season on Sunday following a season for improvement for the chronically losing franchise.

The deal, announced Sunday, includes a team option for 2015.

Pittsburgh has finished with a losing record for 18 consecutive seasons, a record for major leagues in North America. But a year after going a big league-worst 57-105, the Pirates were 51-44 and led the NL Central by a half-game before play on July 20. A 10-game losing streak dashed their postseason hopes, and they began Sunday at 66-79, three losses short of ensuring another sub-.500 season.

The 42-year-old Huntington replaced Dave Littlefield on Sept. 25, 2007.

Neal was hired to take on the difficult task of building an organization that can compete on a consistent basis,” Pirates chairman Bob Nutting said in a statement. “While there is still much work to be done, Neal and his staff have done an exceptional job of overhauling the scouting and development systems while building a strong foundation by aggressively acquiring talent through all possible avenues. We have begun to see that positive impact on the major league level this season and expect that improvement to continue as we execute our plan in building a winning organization.”