published Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Paul Maholm, Braves blank Mets, 4-0

  • photo
    Atlanta Braves pitcher Paul Maholm delivers the ball to the New York Mets during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in New York. Maholm pitched a three-hitter as the Braves won 4-0.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NEW YORK — Paul Maholm pitched a three-hitter in his second start for Atlanta and the Braves got two-run homers from Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla to beat the New York Mets 4-0 Friday night.

Heyward homered in the first inning to help spoil Matt Harvey's home pitching debut with the Mets. Uggla went deep in the eighth off reliever Josh Edgin for his first homer in more than a month as Atlanta won for the 13th time in 16 games.

The Braves began a stretch of 20 straight playing dates, this one without Chipper Jones. The All-Star third baseman said he was out with back tightness caused by the bed in his New York hotel room.

Maholm (10-7) was brilliant at a ballpark in which he has struggled. Coming in 0-2 with an 8.80 ERA in four games, three starts, at Citi Field, he faced the minimum through five innings.

Acquired from the Cubs on July 30, Maholm pitched well enough to win his Atlanta debut a week ago, giving up three runs and six hits in seven innings. But he lost to Houston, snapping a five-game winning streak.

He got back on track Friday. After Ruben Tejada reached on Maholm's error in the first, the left-hander got David Wright to ground into a double play. When Daniel Murphy singled to center field, Maholm got Ronny Cedeno to end the second inning with a double-play ball to shortstop.

Maholm retired 11 in a row until Rob Johnson doubled in the sixth with one out. He then induced two groundouts. The shutout was the fourth of his career and first since May 28, 2011, for the Pirates against the Cubs.

The Mets were coming off a 6-1 win against the Marlins to snap a nine-game losing skid at home and were excited for Harvey's fourth start but his first at Citi Field.

With about 100 friends and family in the stands, Harvey threw a 93 mph strike to Michael Bourn on his first pitch. Things did not go so well after that. After a groundout, Heyward homered to right field on the first pitch, a 94 mph fastball. It was Heyward's 19th homer and first since he turned 23 on Thursday.

Harvey needed 33 pitches to get out of the first inning and 52 in the first two. He walked five through three innings and had a close call in the third when Freddie Freeman's grounder up the middle hit off his thigh.

But then he turned it around, showing flashes of the potential that made him a top prospect. The Mets' first pick in the 2010 draft — seventh overall — out of North Carolina retired nine straight after David Ross doubled to left leading off the fourth.

Harvey left for a pinch-hitter in the sixth. The 23-year-old right-hander walked five and struck out three.

Uggla's homer off Edgin ended the left-hander's scoreless streak at 10 1/3 innings. Freeman hit a bloop single with one out before Uggla sent a drive to left-center for his 13th homer and first since July 8.

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