published Saturday, April 20th, 2013

McDonald’s strong outing leads Pirates over Braves

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher James McDonald (53) delivers during the third inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Pittsburgh, Saturday, April 20, 2013.
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher James McDonald (53) delivers during the third inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Pittsburgh, Saturday, April 20, 2013.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

PITTSBURGH — James McDonald pitched six dominant inning and Gaby Sanchez hit a tiebreaking two-run home run Saturday night to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

In quite a contrast to his previous start, McDonald (2-2) struck out nine while allowing only one run on two hits. McDonald was tagged for eight runs in 1 2/3 innings on Monday in a loss to St. Louis.

Sanchez’s first home run of the season broke a 1-1 tie and capped a three-run sixth. Paul Maholm (3-1) carried a two-hit shutout into the inning and had not allowed a run in 25 1/3 innings this season.

Atlanta (13-4), which has the best record in the major leagues, lost consecutive games for the first this season.

Pittsburgh (9-8) won for the sixth time in eight games and got above .500 for the first time this season.

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