|Pittsburgh (9-8) «||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||x||3||7||0|
PITTSBURGH -- One streak started and another ended Saturday night and neither was good news for the Atlanta Braves.
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.
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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."
|Atlanta starter Paul Maholm allows his first runs of the season after 25 1/3 scoreless innings to start the year. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|B.J. Upton, CF||4||0||1||0||0||2||3||.164|
|Jason Heyward, RF||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.121|
|Justin Upton, LF||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.313|
|Evan Gattis, C||3||1||0||0||0||0||1||.245|
|Chris Johnson, 1B||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.418|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||.161|
|Ramiro Pena, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.320|
|Juan Francisco, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||4||4||.292|
|Andrelton Simmons, SS||3||0||0||1||1||1||0||.185|
|Paul Maholm, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||3||.091|
|a- Reed Johnson, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.083|
|Cory Gearrin, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jordan Walden, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Jordan Schafer, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.444|
|a-struck out for Maholm in the 7th|
|b-struck out for Walden in the 9th|
|2B - Chris Johnson (4, McDonald)|
|RBI - Andrelton Simmons (6)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Simmons-Uggla-Johnson, Simmons-Pena-Johnson, Francisco-Pena-Johnson|
|Paul Maholm (L,3-1)||6||4||3||3||3||5||1||1.03|
|IBB - Alvarez by Cory Gearrin|
|HBP - Marte (by Paul Maholm)|
|WP - Cory Gearrin (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Paul Maholm 89-60, Cory Gearrin 16-7, Jordan Walden 15-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Maholm 7-4, Cory Gearrin 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Paul Maholm 24, Cory Gearrin 4, Jordan Walden 5|
|Starling Marte, LF||2||1||0||0||1||1||1||.323|
|Jose Tabata, RF||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.192|
|Andrew McCutchen, CF||4||1||2||1||0||0||0||.274|
|Gaby Sanchez, 1B||4||1||2||2||0||0||1||.222|
|Russell Martin, 3B-C||2||0||1||0||2||0||0||.191|
|Neil Walker, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||2||3||.262|
|Michael McKenry, C||3||0||1||0||0||1||2||.357|
|Alex Presley, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|Mark Melancon, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jason Grilli, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Clint Barmes, SS||3||0||0||0||0||2||3||.093|
|James McDonald, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.167|
|Tony Watson, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Pedro Alvarez, PH-3B||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.115|
|a-was walked intentionally for Watson in the 7th|
|2B - Andrew McCutchen 2 (8, Maholm, Maholm), Michael McKenry (2, Gearrin)|
|HR - Gaby Sanchez (1, Maholm)|
|SH - Jose Tabata (1)|
|RBI - Andrew McCutchen (12), Gaby Sanchez 2 (7)|
|SB - Andrew McCutchen (6, 3rd base off Maholm/Gattis)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|James McDonald (W,2-2)||6||2||1||1||4||9||0||4.12|
|Tony Watson (H,3)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.38|
|Mark Melancon (H,6)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.82|
|Jason Grilli (S,6)||1||0||0||0||0||3||0||0.00|
|HBP - Gattis (by James McDonald)|
|Pitches-Strikes - James McDonald 94-60, Tony Watson 14-10, Mark Melancon 12-9, Jason Grilli 13-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James McDonald 4-5, Tony Watson 1-1, Mark Melancon 3-0|
|Batters Faced - James McDonald 25, Tony Watson 4, Mark Melancon 4, Jason Grilli 3|
|Attendance - 29313|
|Game Time - 2:30|
|Temperature - 45|
|Umpires - Home - Chris Conroy, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Sam Holbrook|