Conventional wisdom stated before the season that the Atlanta Braves would hit a ton of homers and strike out a lot. In the third game of their series with the Pittsburgh Pirates, they struck out a lot but couldn't put up any crooked numbers in a 3-1 loss at PNC Park.
A night after being shutout by the Bucs, Pirates starter James McDonald escaped relatively unscathed despite a shaky second inning, when the Braves loaded the bases with no outs and scored just one run.
Instead, it was the Pirates snapping a streak of 25 1/3 scoreless innings Paul Maholm threw to start the year. Maholm started the sixth with a walk to Starling Marte, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a double by Andrew McCutchen to tie the game.
Gaby Sanchez took his turn to blast a two-run homer to center field to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead. The three runs Maholm gave up in his six innings were the first he's given up all year.
But the Braves didn't put up much of a fight offensively by putting up just four hits and going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Atlanta was primed for a big inning in the second when McDonald hit Evan Gattis with a pitch to start the frame. Chris Johnson then doubled and Dan Uggla walked to load the bases. The only run was pushed across when Andrelton Simmons drew a bases-loaded walk, but Juan Francisco, Maholm and B.J. Upton all struck out on three pitches.
Johnson, who is currently hitting .418, collected two of the Braves' four hits. B.J. Upton and Justin Upton each had singles, but nothing much came of it.
In total, the Braves struck out a whopping 13 times on the night.
The Braves look to split with the Pirates Sunday at 1:35 p.m.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Chris Johnson, Gaby Sanchez, James McDonald, MLB, Paul Maholm