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Correia wins fifth straight start

PITTSBURGH — Winning a career-best five straight starts might not be enough for Kevin Correia to keep his spot in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting rotation.

Correia gave up two runs and four hits in six innings, helping Pittsburgh beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 and avoid getting swept at home from the first time since Sept. 9-11 against the Marlins.

“Kevin is a grinder,” Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. “The way he pitched today is the way he always pitches. He doesn’t overpower anyone, but he just keeps battling and battling and he gave us a chance to beat a very good pitcher.”

Garrett Jones drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the sixth inning. Walker and Michael McKenry homered for Pittsburgh.

Ryan Dempster (5-5) lost in what might be his last start for Chicago, allowing three runs and five hits in six innings with six strikeouts and no walks. Dempster said he is mulling a decision to accept a trade to Atlanta and is also “keeping all my options open.”

Chicago is off today, and Dempster said he’ll spend part of the day thinking about his situation. He has the right to veto any trade as a 10-and-5 player — at least 10 years of Major League service time, including at least five with his current team.

The deadline for trades without waivers is Tuesday.

“I’m definitely going to think about Atlanta,” Dempster said. “I know (Braves GM) Frank Wren from my days in Florida, when he was the assistant GM there. I have a lot of respect for (manager) Fredi Gonzalez. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I have a few days to think about it before the trading deadline.”

His ERA, which had been a Major League-leading 2.11, rose to 2.25.

Despite his winning streak, Correia (8-6) has a 4.82 ERA in his past five starts and is a candidate to be moved to the bullpen following the acquisition of left-hander Wandy Rodriguez from Houston on Tuesday. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said before the game that he might also consider going to a six-man rotation, at least temporarily.

“We acquired a very good pitcher who is going to help us,” Correia said. “Somebody is going to have to come out of the rotation. I thought about it a lot last night, but it wasn’t on my mind when I took the mound. I just tried to do the best I could to help the team win and the decisions about the rotation are out of my hands.”

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