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Preview: Braves (57-47) at Pirates (54-49)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Game: 3
Venue: PNC Park
Date: April 20, 2013 7:05 PM EDT
  

Paul Maholm showed occasional flashes of excellence, but never lived up to his potential in seven years with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

If his first three starts of 2013 are any indication, he's finally doing it in his first full season with the Atlanta Braves.

Maholm has yet to allow a run in three convincing victories, a streak he'd love to continue Saturday night at PNC Park against the club that drafted him.

The left-hander was the eighth pick in the 2003 draft by Pittsburgh but was unable to establish himself as a front-line starter with the Pirates (8-8), going 53-73 with a 4.36 ERA from 2005-11.

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After signing with the Cubs in 2012, Maholm was shipped to Atlanta in late July and posted a 3.54 ERA in his final 11 starts.

His beginning to 2013 has been spotless. He went 7 2-3 innings in his latest impressive outing, limiting Washington to four hits and striking out seven in a 9-0 victory Sunday.

Maholm (3-0, 0.00 ERA) is the sixth pitcher since 1920 to begin a season with three straight scoreless starts of at least five innings, and only the third since 1966 - joining Woody Williams (2003) and Zack Greinke (2009).

"Pauly has been outstanding, unbelievable," center fielder B.J. Upton told the Braves' official website.

Heading to the visitors' clubhouse at PNC on Saturday won't seem that odd for Maholm since he started there three times last season, going 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA. Maholm gave up two runs and five hits - including a homer to Starling Marte - over seven innings of a 2-1 loss Oct. 1, his lone outing in Pittsburgh with Atlanta.

Marte got a night off Friday after striking out five times in the series opener, but the Pirates' offense was just fine without its leadoff hitter. Pedro Alvarez homered for the second night in a row, one of his team's five extra-base hits in a 6-0 win.

"The last few days have been pretty good for me. I'm getting in some kind of rhythm now and I'm stringing some good at_bats together," said Alvarez, who may find things tougher Saturday as he's 1 for 24 with 13 strikeouts against lefties since Sept. 23. "Hopefully, things are starting to turn for me. I feel good at the plate.'

Pittsburgh's bats may have been overshadowed Friday by a pitching staff that allowed two hits and faced the minimum 27 hitters for the first time since July 25, 1982 - also against the Braves.

Atlanta (13-3) has been shut out in all three of its defeats, but another off night at the plate Saturday may be unlikely.

That's because the Braves will be facing James McDonald (1-2, 5.27), who gave up eight runs - three earned - and eight hits in 1 2-3 innings of a 10-6 loss to St. Louis on Monday.

McDonald fell to 4-7 with a 7.11 ERA in 16 games - 15 starts - since the All-Star break. With Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton due back in May, the right-hander's rotation spot may be on the line.

"I don't want to speculate right now," manager Clint Hurdle told the team's official website. "... I need to sit down and really talk to the guy. I haven't seen anything glaring, but we saw what you saw as far as velocity, finish and command."

McDonald, though, might actually be happy to see the Braves. He's 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA against Atlanta in four starts as a Pirate, striking out 28 in 26 innings.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 SERIES AT A GLANCE
GAME 1
Braves at Pirates
Thu, Apr 18 Final 6 to 4
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 2
Braves at Pirates
Fri, Apr 19 Final 0 to 6
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 3
Braves at Pirates
Sat, Apr 20 Final 1 to 3
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 4
Braves at Pirates
Sun, Apr 21 Final 2 to 4
 Boxscores    Recaps

 CURRENT LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 ATL  -130   +125   7.5 
 PIT  +120   -145   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CURRENT SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 ATL  -144   +110   7.5 
 PIT  +134   -130   
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 ATL  77%   93%   64% 
 PIT  23%   7%   36% 
BT MOVEMENTS

 MLB HEAD TO HEAD
 Apr 19, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 0 Under: 6 
 PIT 6 Cover: +110 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 18, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 6 Cover: +100 
 PIT 4 Over: 10 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Mar 20, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 PIT 9 Over: 27 
 ATL 18 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Feb 24, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 2 Over: 11 
 PIT 9 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Oct 3, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 4 Cover: +130 
 PIT 0 Under: 4 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Oct 2, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 1 Under: 6 
 PIT 5 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Oct 1, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 1 Under: 3 
 PIT 2 Cover: +125 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps

 MLB PREVIEWS
 Saturday, Apr 20
 
    Yankees at Blue Jays
1:05 PM EDT
    Royals at Red Sox
1:10 PM EDT
    Marlins at Reds
1:10 PM EDT
    Twins at White Sox
3:05 PM EDT
    Tigers at Angels
3:05 PM EDT
    Nationals at Mets
3:05 PM EDT
    Dodgers at Orioles
7:05 PM EDT
    Cardinals at Phillies
7:05 PM EDT
    Braves at Pirates
7:05 PM EDT
    Cubs at Brewers
7:10 PM EDT
    Indians at Astros
7:10 PM EDT
    Athletics at Rays
7:10 PM EDT
    Mariners at Rangers
8:05 PM EDT
    Diamondbacks at Rockies
8:10 PM EDT
    Padres at Giants
9:05 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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