Correia, Pirates outlast Cubs, 3-2, avoid sweep
Kevin Correia, in jeopardy of losing his spot in Pittsburgh's crowded starting rotation, pitched six effective innings Wednesday and Garrett Jones hit a tiebreaking double to lead the Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Correia (8-6) gave up just two runs and four hits in running his winning streak to a career-best five. He had four strikeouts and two walks to help Pittsburgh avoid a series sweep at home for the first time since last Sept. 9-11 against the Marlins.
Garrett Jones drove in the go-ahead run with a two-double in the sixth inning and Pittsburgh received home runs from Neil Walker and Michael McKenry.
Ryan Dempster (5-5) lost in what might his last start for Chicago, allowing three runs and five hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
The Cubs have agreed to a trade that would send Dempster to Atlanta. However, Dempster has yet to agree to the deal, and he has the veto right as a player with 10 years of major league experience and five with his current team. If he must be traded, it is his preference to be shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Dempster's ERA went up to 2.25 from 2.11. He led the major league in that category coming into the game.
Anthony Rizzo homered and drove in both Chicago runs.
The Pirates acquired veteran left-hander Wandy Rodriguez from the Houston Astros on Tuesday in a trade for three minor-leaguers. Despite his winning streak, Correia is a candidate to be moved to the bullpen, along with his ERA is 4.82 over his last five starts. Wins are wins, yes, but he has not reached the seventh inning in any of those outings.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said before the game that he might also consider going to a six-man rotation, at least temporarily.
Relievers Jared Hughes, Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan followed Correia with one scoreless inning each. Hanrahan recorded his 29th save.
Pittsburgh entered the day leading the National League wild-card standings, and was 2 1/2 games behind Cincinnati in the NL Central.
The Pirates pulled ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning when Jones lined a two-out double to right field to score Alex Presley. With one out, Presley singled and then moved to third on Andrew McCutchen's two-out single.
Both teams hit solo home runs in the first. Rizzo connected for his fifth with two outs for Chicago and Walker countered with his ninth in the bottom half of the inning.
The Cubs went back ahead in the fourth as Rizzo singled in David DeJesus, who had doubled, with two outs. The umpires upheld their ruling on DeJesus' double after a video review showed a fan had touched the ball before it went over the center-field fence.
Pittsburgh tied the score at 2-2 when McKenry hit a two-out solo homer, his eighth, off the left-field foul pole. Dempster retired 13 batters in a row between the home runs by Walker and McKenry.
NOTES: Chicago LF Alfonso Soriano received the day off after going 4-for-8 with two home runs and four RBIs in the first two games of the series. ... Rodriguez is expected to join the Pirates on Thursday in Houston when they open a four-game series against the Astros. Rodriguez pitched Monday night against Cincinnati, so the earliest he would likely be able to pitch is Saturday. ... RHP A.J. Burnett (11-3, 3.59) is scheduled to start for the Pirates on Thursday night against LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-2, 4.03). ... Chicago is off Thursday before opening a three-game series Friday against St. Louis. LHP Travis Wood (4-5, 4.33) is the probable starter for the Cubs and will face RHP Lance Lynn (12-4, 3.10).