published Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Pirates, Correia control Braves, 5-1

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Kevin Correia (29) delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Pittsburgh Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. The Pirates won 5-1, with Correia getting his 12th win of the season.
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Kevin Correia (29) delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Pittsburgh Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. The Pirates won 5-1, with Correia getting his 12th win of the season.
Photo by Associated Press.

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.

"It's huge," Correia said about making his final start a positive one. "It seems like when you go into the offseason on a bad one you can't stop thinking about that for weeks and weeks, so it's nice to have a good one to kind of go in on a positive note just to rest your mind a little bit going into the offseason."

A day after being eliminated from the National League 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."

Gonzalez said he will start his regular lineup for the regular-season finale this afternoon 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 last previously won two straight games Sept. 4-5. The Pirates faded in the second half, ending their run at a playoff spot.

Pittsburgh rookie Starling Marte had three hits and scored twice, giving him five hits and four runs in the series after making only two starts in the previous eight games in a management attempt for him to clear his head and focus on fundamentals.

"It's always fun to watch a young man gain some confidence in this game," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "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 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 at times and I've got to make adjustments and get better. My fastball command was there at times then I lost it."

The Braves have scored a total of 11 runs in their past five games.

The Braves will start right-hander Ben Sheets (4-4, 3.54 ERA) today, bumping Tim Hudson from the role after being eliminated in the East title chase. The Pirates starter will be A.J. Burnett (16-9, 3.43).

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