In what was likely his last start as a Pirate, Kevin Correia earned a win as the Pirates defeated the Braves, 5-1, tonight at PNC Park.
Correia, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, allowed one earned run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out five batters.
For a second consecutive night, Starling Marte sparked the Pirates offense, going 3 for 5 with a double, two runs and two stolen bases. He scored all of the Pirates' runs in a 2-1 victory Monday against the Braves.
In two seasons with the Pirates, Correia went 24-22 with a 4.49. He finishes this season 12-11 with a 4.21 ERA.
When he left the mound with two outs in the sixth inning, many of the 15,727 in attendance at PNC Park rose to their feet in tribute to a pitcher often criticized by the fanbase for his inconsistency.
Manager Clint Hurdle said before the game that Correia's tenure in Pittsburgh was mostly positive. Correia was the team's Opening Day starter in 2011 and was an injury replacement on the All-Star team that season.
"He was a guy that wanted to be more than a No. 5 [starter] and we gave him that opportunity," Hurdle said. "He's come in and pitched well."
Neither side seems inclined to extend the relationship. Correia asked for and the Pirates pursued a trade after the Pirates acquired Wandy Rodriguez prior to the trade deadline. But they found little interest for Correia.
The Pirates briefly moved Correia to the bullpen after the deal.
"I was stymied through this process that there wasn't any interest at the point in time when we made the [Wandy] move," Hurdle said. "Would I think there'd be vested interest in him in the offseason? I would. Obviously I don't speak for the industry because I was shown blankly how wrong I could be at one particular point in time."
Though Correia probably does not factor into the Pirates' future plans, Hurdle said he deserved a spot in the rotation the past month, and he gave the Pirates their best chance of winning.
With the victory, the Pirates (79-82) match their win total from the 1997 season, their highest win total in a 20-year streak of losing seasons.
Tommy Hanson took the loss for the Braves (93-68), allowing five earned runs on nine hits in six innings.
Marte scored his second run of the game in the fifth inning to put the Pirates up by two runs. After Marte reached with a leadoff single and stole second, Alex Presley doubled to left-centerfield, scoring Marte to make it 3-1.
Two batters later, Garrett Jones gave the Pirates even more breathing room with a two-run homer, his 27th of the season.
The Braves scored their first run and halved the Pirates' lead in the fourth inning. With former Pirate Lyle Overbay on second, Juan Francisco laced a two-out double to left field, scoring Oberbay to make it 2-1. Overbay doubled two batters earlier with a line drive that glanced off Starling Marte's glove in left-centerfield, rolling to the warning track.
Clint Barmes added to an early Pirate lead with an RBI single in the second inning. With Josh Harrison on second, having drawn a walk and stolen a base, Barmes dropped a bloop single into shallow left field, allowing Harrison to score as the Pirates went up 2-0.
The Pirates took their initial lead in the first inning, sparked again by an extra-base hit by Marte, a rookie Marte. After scoring both of the Pirates' runs in a 2-1 victory Monday, Marte led off the bottom of the first inning with a double down the right field line. He scored two batters later when Andrew McCutchen grounded out to shortstop, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Michael Sanserino: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino. First Published October 3, 2012 1:45 AM