It’s been a long while since the Pittsburgh Pirates have received back-to-back good starts, and even though it may have been a case of too little too late, it was encouraging to see the performance from Jeff Locke in Monday night’s series-opening victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Kevin Correia did his best to match Locke on Tuesday night. He pitched the Pirates to a 5-1 victory, marking the first time since Sept. 4-5 they’ve won back-to-back games and only the fourth time since late July the Bucs had accomplished the feat.
In what could be his final start in a Pirates’ uniform, Correia allowed only one run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out five while walking just one.
He was helped out early by a couple of runs in the first two innings as Starling Marte continued his hot hitting. The rookie led off the first with a double and came around to score the game’s first run on an Andrew McCutchen ground out.
Clint Barmes then made it a 2-0 game when he drove in Josh Harrison with an RBI single in the second.
The Braves cut the lead in half in the fourth when Juan Francisco doubled in former Pirate Lyle Overbay, but Correia and the relief combination of Justin Wilson, Chris Resop and Bryan Morris shut the door the rest of the way.
The Pirates got that run back in the fifth when Alex Presley doubled in Marte, and they added some insurance two batters later when Garrett Jones clubbed a two-run homer, his 27th of the season, to make it 5-1.
The Bucs hammered out 10 hits on the night, with seven of them coming from the trio of Marte (3), Presley (2) and Pedro Alvarez (2). In addition, the Pirates went 4-for-4 stealing bases, with Marte swiping a pair.
Even though the final series has a disappointing feel to it, the Bucs have played a pair of games looking like the team they had been for a majority of the season. Marte’s finish to the season is a very encouraging sign, too.
If this was the final time Correia got the ball in a Pirates’ uniform, he finished things the way he started them in Pittsburgh: like a true pro.