Pittsburgh, PA – Starling Marte's solo home run in the fifth inning proved to be the difference on Monday as the Pittsburgh Pirates knocked off the Atlanta Braves, 2-1, in the opener of the final regular season series for both teams.
Marte finished with two hits and two runs scored and Chase d'Arnaud added an RBI groundout for the Pirates, who had lost four of their last five coming in.
Jeff Locke (1-3) allowed a run on just two hits with six strikeouts over six innings. He struggled with his command a bit, walking five batters, but did enough to earn his first career win.
"It's a tough lineup," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Locke's outing. "He went after some people and turned in a very positive performance."
Jason Heyward knocked in the lone run for the Braves, who were eliminated from the race for the National League East crown with the setback.
Paul Maholm (13-11) pitched seven strong innings, but allowed two runs on five hits and three walks to take the loss.
"I'm proud of the guys," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of his team's pursuit of a division title. "We just kept battling, but it was going to be difficult because we didn't have any games to play against them (Washington), so it almost had to be a perfect ending for us."
The Braves opened the scoring in the third inning when Michael Bourn ripped a two-out single and scored on a base hit up the middle by Heyward, but the Pirates tied it in the home half of the frame.
Marte led off the inning with a triple into the left-field corner and scored on a groundout by d'Arnaud.
After stranding a pair of runners on base in the fourth inning, the Pirates took the lead for good when Marte led off the fifth inning by blasting a fastball from Maholm over the wall in straightaway center field.
With one out in the ninth inning, Freddie Freeman reached base on an errant throw by third baseman Pedro Alvarez, giving the Braves some life.
But Jared Hughes retired pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay on a line drive to left and got Brian McCann to ground out weakly back to the mound to notch his second save of the season.
Braves second baseman Dan Uggla missed the game due to swelling in his right hand ... Pittsburgh leads the season series between the teams, 3-2 ... Atlanta went 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left six on base.