PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jason Heyward singled twice and scored two runs as the playoff-bound Atlanta Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 in their regular-season finale on Wednesday.
Chipper Jones added a pinch-hit single in his final regular-season at-bat for Atlanta, which hosts St. Louis in the wild-card playoff on Friday.
Luis Avilan (1-0) won on a day the Braves used eight pitchers to hold Pittsburgh to four hits. Ben Sheets started and pitched one scoreless inning in his last major league appearance.
A.J. Burnett (16-10) gave up four runs in 5 2-3 innings for Pittsburgh. The Pirates finished 79-83, extending their record streak of losing seasons to 20.
A regular-season finale that looked like it might be important a month ago had a decidedly spring training feel after the Pirates collapsed down the stretch and the Braves secured the top wild-card spot.
A large number of Atlanta fans showed up to bid the retirement-bound Jones farewell, though it appeared their only glimpse of the third baseman would come when he handed the lineup card to umpires. The 40-year-old planned on sitting out a second straight game to get some rest before the playoffs, but was inserted as a pinch hitter leading off the sixth.
The switch-hitting Jones didn't waste any time. Standing in as a left-hander against Burnett, Jones slapped the first pitch he saw to right field for a single for the 2,726th and final hit of his career. Jones stuck around to eventually score on a single by Brian McCann that put Atlanta up 3-0.
That was more than enough to send the Braves into the postseason on an up note and send Sheets out a winner in his final game.
The four-time All-Star was in the midst of an admirable comeback from a series of arm injuries this summer — going 4-4 with a 3.54 ERA — before heading to the disabled list in August with right shoulder issues.
He announced earlier this week he had no plans on sticking around for the postseason, but eagerly accepted a chance to walk into retirement on his own terms after the Braves opted to rest scheduled starter Tim Hudson.
Sheets had little trouble during his one inning of work, striking out Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen, the final pitch of his career a 96 mph fastball McCutchen couldn't get his bat on.
Burnett has been one of the few constants for the Pirates this season, giving the pitching staff a certified ace after being acquired in an offseason trade with the New York Yankees. He won eight straight decisions in the spring but tailed over the final two months and couldn't avoid his fifth loss in his six starts.
Though McCutchen whiffed against Sheets, the All-Star centerfielder singled in the fourth and exited after popping out to end the seventh. He finished with a career-best .327 batting average and his 194 hits are tops in the National League.
It was of small consolation, however, to a team that was 62-46 on Aug. 8 only to go 17-37 over the season's final six weeks to fall under .500 yet again. McCutchen finished second to San Francisco's Buster Posey for the NL batting title.
NOTES: The Pirates drew 2,091, 918 to PNC Park this season, the second-highest total in team history. The average attendance of 26,149 was up from 23,956 in 2011 ... The Braves will start RHP Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA) Friday against Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86) ... The Pirates open the 2013 season at home on April 1 against the Chicago Cubs.