Win Streak At 9: Maholm Dominates, Braves Offense Clubs Nationals 9-0

USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta's offense broke out against Gio Gonzalez, hitting two home runs to back another dominant performance by Paul Maholm. The winning streak is now at nine games.

This Braves team is looking quite impressive, regardless of what any Nationals player thinks.

Paul Maholm pitched into the eighth inning, shutting out the Nationals and accomplishing a rare feat in the process. Meanwhile, his offense had a big game, pounding out 12 hits in a 9-0 rout to complete a sweep of the Nationals and extend their winning streak to nine games.

The barrage on the Nats started immediately. On the first pitch of the ballgame from Gio Gonzalez, B.J. Upton lined a double to left and after brother Justin walked, Evan Gattis smoked a double of his own off the left field wall. One out later, Chris Johnson singled home both Justin and Gattis for a 3-0 lead before Maholm ever threw a pitch.

Despite his past history at Nationals Park, Maholm continued his stellar pitching. In his 7.2 innings, he induced 10 ground ball outs, seven of them in the first three innings. He allowed just four singles and walked only one while striking out seven. In the second inning, Maholm hit Danny Espinosa on the left hand, prompting the unimpressed second baseman to leave the game.

The shellacking continued in the third inning. Justin Upton led off the frame with an opposite-field home run over the right field scoreboard, his seventh of the season. Dan Uggla walked with one out followed by another Chris Johnson base hit. Andrelton Simmons joined the hit parade by hitting a Gonzalez fastball into the Braves bullpen for a three-run homer and a 7-0 advantage.

That would be all Atlanta would get off Gonzalez in five innings, but they added two more off lefty Zach Duke. Jason Heyward lined a run-scoring double to right with Maholm and B.J. on base. Evan Gattis drove in Atlanta's final run with a sacrifice fly.

Luis Avilan and Cory Gearrin finished the game in relief. Chris Johnson finished the game with four hits.

Maholm's scoreless outing makes him the first Braves pitcher since 1916 to start the season with three scoreless starts, and only nine others have done so since then.

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