Majors: Pirates 5, Braves 1
PITTSBURGH — Kevin Correia wanted to go into the offseason on a high note.
The Pirates right-hander did just that, pitching effectively into the seventh inning of Pittsburgh’s 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.
Garrett Jones homered to help the Pirates win consecutive games for the first time in four weeks.
A pending free agent, Correia (12-11) perhaps made his final start after two seasons with Pittsburgh, matching a career high in wins each year. He allowed six hits and one walk and had five strikeouts.
A day after being eliminated from the NL East division title race, the wild-card Braves rested several regulars and shuffled players in and out of the lineup throughout the game. Atlanta will host the NL wild-card game Friday.
“It was good to get (reserves) at-bats to keep them sharp,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’re going to have a lot more position players on the roster for Friday’s game than the other rounds so I feel it’s important that we get them at bats.”
The announced crowd of 15,272 included several thousand Braves fans, many of whom chanted and called for 3B Chipper Jones to make an appearance. Jones, who has said he will retire at the end of the season, delivered the pregame lineup card. By not playing Tuesday, he will not reach 2,500 career games.
Gonzalez said he will start his regular lineup for the regular-season finale Wednesday and pull them after two at-bats to get more reserves some action.
The Pirates (79-82) tied for their most wins in a season since their North American major professional sports record streak of 20 losing seasons began in 1993. The 1999 Pirates went 79-83.
Pittsburgh rookie Starling Marte had three hits and scored twice.
“We’re just trying to make sure he keeps it simple because of what he’s capable of. We just want him to try to slow the game down and let those skills play.”
Jones’ homer was his 27th. He also homered in his previous game Sunday.
After Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead with single runs in the first and second innings off Tommy Hanson (13-10), Atlanta got its lone run in the fourth when Juan Francisco doubled in Lyle Overbay.
Jones’ homer in the fifth came with Alex Presley on base and made it 5-1.
In what might have been his final appearance of the season, Hanson — no lock for the playoff roster — allowed five runs on nine hits in six innings.
Hanson, who struck out six, went almost two months between wins before a strong outing in his previous start.
“It’s not the way I wanted to finish — but it is what it is,” Hanson said. “It kind of got away from me.”