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Justin Maxwell Hits Two Homers for Houston Astros, Spoils Paul Maholm’s Atlanta Braves Debut

August 5th, 2012 at 8:57 AM
By Cody Fields

A grand total of two mistakes cost Paul Maholm in his Atlanta Braves debut Saturday. Houston Astros center fielder Justin Maxwell pelted two home runs in the 3-2 loss Turner Field.

Maxwell drove in the first two runs for Houston in the fourth with a two-run shot and added a solo homer in the seventh off Maholm for his 12th of the year. Maholm had won his last five decisions as a member of the Chicago Cubs with a 1.00 ERA. Even though he took the loss, Maholm still logged a quality start.

"The two home runs were really the only two mistakes I made," Maholm said. "The first one, the fastball ran back over [the plate], and the second one was a hanging curveball. He did a good job, obviously, hitting them a long way."

Other than the two innings that contained his mistakes, Maholm gave up four other hits over his seven-plus innings, striking out eight. The pitcher who may has well have been a consolation prize in the botched Ryan Dempster deal entered Saturday with a 3-0 record and 1.62 ERA in his previous five starts against the Astros.

"Most nights with our offense, we win that game," Fredi Gonzalez said.

And it's true that the Braves usually muster more than four hits in a game. All of those came off Houston starter Lucas Harrell over six innings, and the Astros bullpen shut the door thereafter.

The only runs Atlanta could grind out came after Harrell walked the bases loaded in the sixth to set up a two-run single by Dan Uggla. Though it tied the game, Maxwell would seal the deal with his homer an inning later. Uggla has driven in at least one run in his last four games and has eight RBIs over his last seven games.

"I've been feeling a lot better," Uggla said. "It's not quite right yet. When I get hot, I can get as hot as anyone."

The win for the Astros was just their fourth in 33 games and snapped a 10-game road losing streak.

The loss for the Braves, however, was their eighth in 28 games, dropping them three games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East race. A win in Sunday's finale would give them the 8-2 record Chipper Jones said they needed for the homestand.

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Dan Uggla, Justin Maxwell, Lucas Harrell, MLB, Paul Maholm

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