PITTSBURGH (AP) -
wasn't thrilled with his start Friday night against the
. He was pleased with the outcome.
Maholm combined with two relievers on a six-hitter and the
handed Atlanta its fourth straight loss with a 3-0 victory.
Maholm (2-0) allowed four hits in seven innings and lowered his ERA to 0.87 in winning his first home start of the season.
But he struggled with his command throughout, working around three walks, two hit batters and a balk.
''For a little bit, I lost my rhythm,'' said Maholm, who threw 57 of his 102 pitches for strikes and beat Atlanta for the
first time in three career starts. ''But it didn't hurt me. If you go seven innings, it's a good game.''
The Braves' best scoring chance against Maholm came in the second.
was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and
singled to load the bases.
then hit a line drive that was inches from being fair.
''That was just luck,'' Maholm said.
Kotchman eventually was called out on the infield fly rule after his popup was dropped by catcher
bounced into a 1-2-3 double play.
''Kotchman almost cleared the bases,'' Atlanta manager
said. ''It was just one of those nights.''
Maholm also go
to fly out to right with two outs and runners on first and second in the fifth. He improved to 12-3 in his last 23 starts
at PNC Park dating to 2007.
''Paul did a good job tonight,'' Pirates manager
said. ''He wasn't as sharp, but he found a way to get outs. He's got enough confidence in himself that's he capable of being
OK even when things aren't going right.''
allowed two hits in the eighth inning, and
pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.
(2-1) struck out seven in 6 2-3 innings for Atlanta. He allowed one run and four hits in a career-high 120-pitch outing.
''He pitched great,'' Cox said. ''His location was good all night. His pitch count was fine for this time of the year.''
drove in Pittsburgh's first run with a groundout in the second and
hit his third homer off
in the eighth to make it 3-0.
''That was a big boost,'' Russell said. ''You never know with a one-run game going into the ninth inning. That gave us some
breathing room. It was a huge hit for Nate against a left-hander.''
McLouth said Gonzalez left a fastball out over the plate.
''I think it was a mistake on his part,'' he said. ''It was nice to get those two runs.''
had three hits for Atlanta and is batting .526 (10-for-19) over his past five games. ... Atlanta will call up LHP Jo-Jo Reyes
from Triple-A Gwinnett to start Saturday's game against Pittsburgh. A corresponding roster move will be made before the game.
... Braves 3B
missed his third consecutive game with a bruised left thumb. ... Braves SS
, who left Thursday's game against Florida with a strained abdominal muscle, did not play. ... Pirates SS
was a late scratch for the second time in three games because of a bruised left middle finger. He was replaced by
. ... Pittsburgh has won five of six games against Atlanta at PNC Park. ...
, acquired by the Pirates in a trade with the
Los Angeles Dodgers
on Wednesday, popped out as a pinch hitter to end the seventh in his first at-bat with the team.