MLB Saturday

Braves have first losing streak of season

by John Perrotto, The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — One streak started and another ended Saturday night and neither was good news for the Atlanta Braves.

Paul Maholm's streak of 25 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings ended when he gave up three runs in the sixth inning to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Gaby Sanchez's two-run home run capped the inning and propelled the Pirates to a 3-1 victory, which put Atlanta on its first losing streak of the season.

The Braves (13-4), who have the best record in the major leagues, had not lost consecutive games all year. Atlanta also suffered its first loss of the season in a game in which it scored.

"I never really thought about the streak because I knew I was going to give up some runs at some point," Maholm said. "I'm not upset about that. I'm just disappointed that I made two bad pitches, one to (Andrew) McCutchen and one to Gaby that cost us the game."

With the Braves leading 1-0, Starling Marte opened the decisive sixth by drawing a walk and was bunted to second by Jose Tabata. McCutchen then drove in Marte to tie it with a double off the right-field wall on a night when fans received a bobblehead doll of the All-Star center fielder.

Sanchez followed by a driving a 1-2 pitch to center field to put the Pirates ahead.

"It was a matter of our hitters sticking with the game plan," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "We stayed patient until Paul left a couple of pitches up in the zone and we hit them."

Maholm (3-1) allowed three runs and four hits in six innings with three walks and five strikeouts.

James McDonald (2-2) struck out nine and allowed only one run on two hits. In his previous start on Monday, McDonald was rocked for eight runs in 1 2/3 innings by St. Louis. McDonald struck out the side in the first inning, setting down B.J. Upton, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton on 13 pitches.

McDonald issued four walks and three came in the second inning when he allowed his only run.

He hit Evan Gattis with a pitch to start the inning and the Braves then loaded the bases on Chris Johnson's double and a walk to Dan Uggla. One out later, Andrelton Simmons walked to force home Gattis.

McDonald bounced back to strike out Maholm and B.J. Upton to end the inning.

"We just got one (run) there and that hurt," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We get McDonald on the ropes but instead of putting a big crooked number up there or maybe even getting him out of the game, we let him wiggle out of it. We hit some balls hard off him but that was really our only (scoring) chance."

Jason Grilli pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to stay perfect in save opportunities at 6-for-6.

Chris Johnson had two of Atlanta's four hits and is 21-for-45 (.467) in his last 11 games. However, the braves have scored only one run while suffering the back-to-back losses.

"It's been a couple of days where we can't get the big hit," Johnson said. "We just have to focus in and get some hits with some guys on base. We'll be fine. We've proven we can score runs."

NOTES: Atlanta 2B Uggla left the game in the middle of the fourth inning with a strained left calf. ... The Braves placed INF Blake DeWitt on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back and recalled RHP David Carpenter from Class AAA Gwinnett. ... Pittsburgh C Russell Martin made the ninth start of his career at third base but first since 2008 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano (broken right upper arm), pitching for Class AA Altoona on an injury rehabilitation assignment Saturday, gave up four runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings in a loss to Harrisburg in the Eastern League. ... Atlanta RHP Kris Medlen (1-1, 1.42), who has received just five runs of support in his three starts, pitches Sunday against LHP Jonathan Sanchez (0-2, 12.96) in the finale of the four-game series.



More Sports

High School Basketball

Newnan sweeps Troup on road

Newnan basketball teams swept Troup on Saturday to cap off a busy first week of the 2014-15 season. The Lady Cougars dominated the Lady Tige ... Read More


High School Wrestling

Veteran coach takes over East Coweta program

When it came time to find a new wrestling coach to take over East Coweta’s program, school officials found another young candidate wit ... Read More


College Football/Where Are They Now?

Cowetans help lead programs to Division II playoffs

While it’s a lighter schedule than most for college football fans around the state — Georgia Tech off and still celebrating Thur ... Read More


High School Basketball

Lady Vikings knock off Starr's Mill for first win

Northgate’s girls basketball team gave head coach Marcellous Johnson a special reason to celebrate his first win as a head coach Frida ... Read More


High School Basketball

Central hands Trinity first losses of year

Central Christian’s basketball teams picked up right where they left off last season — with victories. Following championships i ... Read More

High School Basketball

Lady Cougars get first win; Heritage girls undefeated

County basketball lineups were pushed to the limit by non-region foes in early season action on Thursday. The included Newnan and The Herita ... Read More