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Struggles continue for Braves
Atlanta shut out by Pirates, loses fourth game in a row

PITTSBURGH - Paul Maholm combined with two relievers on a six-hitter and the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Atlanta Braves their fourth straight loss with a 3-0 victory Friday night.

Maholm (2-0) pitched seven innings, allowing four hits. The left-hander, who worked around three walks, two hit batters and a balk, lowered his ERA to 0.87 in winning his first home start of the season.

John Grabow allowed two hits in the eighth inning, and Matt Capps pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.

Nate McLouth hit a two-run homer and Freddy Sanchez added two hits for Pittsburgh.

Jair Jurrjens (2-1) struck out seven in 6 2-3 innings for Atlanta, allowing one run and four hits. Jeff Francoeur had three hits and is batting .526 (10-for-19) over his past five games.

The Braves' best scoring chance against Maholm came in the second. Brian McCann was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Francoeur and Martin Prado singled to load the bases. But Casey Kotchman was called out on the infield fly rule after his popup was dropped by catcher Ryan Doumit, and Jordan Schafer bounced into a 1-2-3 double play.

Maholm also got Omar Infante 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.

Andy LaRoche drove in Pittsburgh's first run with a groundout in the second, and McLouth hit his third homer off Mike Gonzalez in the eighth to make it 3-0.

Notes: Atlanta will call up LHP Jo-Jo Reyes from Triple-A Gwinnett to start today's game against Pittsburgh. A corresponding roster move will be made before the game. ... Braves 3B Chipper Jones missed his third consecutive game with a bruised left thumb. ... Braves SS Yunel Escobar, who left Thursday's game against Florida with a strained abdominal muscle, did not play.