PITTSBURGH — Kevin Correia wanted to go into the off-season 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 play host to 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 today and pull them after two at-bats to get more reserves some action.
In what might have been his final appearance of the season, Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson – no lock for the playoff roster – allowed five runs on nine hits in six innings.
“It’s not the way I wanted to finish but it is what it is,” said Hanson, whose record dropped to 13-10.
The Braves have scored a total of 11 runs in their past five games.
NOTES: 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. ... Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman was ejected by third base umpire Jeff Nelson after striking out as a pinch hitter in the eighth. ... Jones has 45 career home runs at PNC Park, tied with Brian Giles for third-most in the ballpark’s 12-year history. ... The Braves will start RHP Ben Sheets (4-4, 3.54 ERA) in the regular season finale Wednesday after Atlanta manager bumped RHP Tim Hudson from the role after the Braves were eliminated from the division title race. Pirates starter A.J. Burnett (16-9, 3.43) was on the losing end of a no-hitter by Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey in his most recent outing Friday.