A 3-bedroom home in Los Angeles costs $695,000. In Pittsburgh, a 3-bedroom home costs only $143,000. Given players can get a place for their family for less, the Pirates don't have to pay as much. It's not something GMs think about but apparently it can make a big difference in payroll costs.
Because living expenses are lower in Pittsburgh, the Pirates were able to make it into the playoffs at a cost per victory of less than a million dollars. By contrast, the Dodgers had to pay about $2.3 million per win.
Here is the ranking of price paid for victory for the teams that have (so far) qualified for the playoffs.
A couple of notes.
The number to the left of the name indicates the ranking - out of 30 teams - for total payroll.
This is the payroll they started the season with. It might be different now.
As of today - 24 September 2014 - there are still more teams that will join this list. None will get in for as little as the Pirates.