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ATL@CIN: Maholm strikes out six over 5 2/3 innings

Once upon a time, Paul Maholm was boasting an impressive scoreless streak.

Much has transpired since the Braves southpaw opened the regular season with 25 2/3 run-free frames. He endured a three-game slide, which included a contest in which he surrendered eight runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings, and another in which he limited division-rival Washington to two runs on three hits in eight innings.

In his last outing on Monday, Maholm returned to his winning form, besting the Reds with a 5 2/3-inning effort in which he scattered two runs on four hits.

"He did whatever he wanted to do," Braves catcher Brian McCann said of Maholm. "He had both sides of the plate working, slowed it down with the curveball, pounded them in with the cutter. When he's got both sides of the plate working, he's going to win a lot of ballgames."

On Saturday, Maholm will toe the rubber against the Giants. In nine career starts against San Francisco, he has amassed a 2-2 record and 3.43 ERA.

The Giants will counter with lefty Madison Bumgarner, who after six straight stellar performances on the mound to begin the season struggled on Monday, when he yielded five runs on eight hits in six innings against the Phillies. He ended up with his first loss of the season, and his ERA jumped to 2.31 from 1.55.

"My command was not as sharp as it has been," Bumgarner said. "I thought I made good pitches, and they didn't miss. I needed to go deep into the game to help the bullpen, but I would have liked to have gone a little further."

Bumgarner had allowed only seven runs total over his first six starts.

"He wasn't as sharp as he's been every game but you can't expect him to be," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

Braves: Heyward working toward game shape
• Right fielder Jason Heyward went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and a walk while playing with Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday. He was held out of the lineup on Friday due to general soreness. Heyward is on the disabled list after undergoing an appendectomy on April 22. Thursday was his first game action in nearly three weeks.

• Reliever Jonny Venters threw 15 pitches off the bullpen mound on Friday but experienced discomfort for the second straight day. Venters is hoping to avoid surgery on his left elbow.

Giants: Bochy backs Vogelsong
• Bochy submitted a vote of confidence on Friday toward right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who has compiled a 1-3 record and 7.78 ERA in his first seven starts. Vogelsong, who went 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in four postseason starts last October, has allowed at least three runs in every outing this year and at least four runs in all but one. The 35-year-old has posted a 11.57 ERA across his last three starts, which have lasted a combined 14 innings.

Worth noting
• Giants reliever Santiago Casilla could be available to pitch as soon as Saturday. He has been dealing with discomfort in his right knee. Comments