With the NL East title out of reach, the Atlanta Braves will have to settle for the wild-card's top spot.
They'd surely love to see their offense get going before the playoffs get underway.
Atlanta tries to break out at the plate Tuesday night as it continues a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
The Braves (93-67) entered October having won 12 of 15 before Monday's 2-1 loss left them three games behind division-leading Washington with two to play.
"It's something we shoot for, the division," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We didn't get it, but we've got the wild card game and you know there's been many, many teams that go through the wild card to win the World Series."
The Braves will now look to pick up some steam Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting Friday's wild-card game. Atlanta has split its last four contests while batting .183, scoring six runs in one of those games and a combined four in the other three.
"All our concentration should be on getting ourselves ready for Friday," said Chipper Jones, who's 1 for 18 over the last six games.
Taking the mound for Atlanta on Tuesday is Tommy Hanson (13-9, 4.38 ERA), who could be auditioning for a spot in the club's postseason rotation. The right-hander had gone 0-4 with a 5.06 ERA over a seven-start stretch before coming around in Thursday's 6-2 win over Miami, giving up two runs and six hits over 5 1-3 innings to earn the victory.
Hanson has struggled mightily on the road of late, going 0-3 with a 6.30 ERA over his last four starts. He was solid in his only matchup against Pittsburgh (78-82) this season, yielding one run, six hits and three walks over six innings of a 6-1 victory April 27.
Hanson will be opposed by Kevin Correia (11-11, 4.33), who's hoping to avoid a career-worst 12th defeat after losing his last two starts. The right-hander was tagged for a season high-tying six runs and seven hits over 4 1-3 innings Thursday in a 6-5 road loss to the New York Mets.
"It's sad; normally I can pick some positive out of a start. Today, there wasn't any," he told the team's official website.
Correia, though, could benefit from getting back home, where he's 6-1 with a 3.59 ERA over his last nine starts.
In his only appearance against the Braves this year, Correia gave up three runs, four hits and a season-high five walks in 4 1-3 innings of a 4-3 road loss April 29. He is 2-2 with a 3.94 ERA over six career starts versus Atlanta.
Jones is 1 for 10 lifetime against Correia, though that one hit has left the yard. Dan Uggla has also taken him deep, going 5 for 17 in their matchups.
It's unknown if Correia will have to face Uggla, who was held out of Monday's lineup as a precautionary measure due to swelling in the knuckle on his right index finger.
Hanson, meanwhile, will be getting his first look at rookie Starling Marte, who tripled and homered Monday to help lead the Pirates to their sixth victory in 24 games.
"It just feels good to win, after everything this team has been through this year, especially this last little while," Monday's winning pitcher Jeff Locke said.
The Associated Press News Service
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