ST. LOUIS (AP) — Fresh off the disabled list, Atlanta left-hander Paul Maholm was happy with the way he pitched. At least the first several innings, that is.
In his first start since leaving a July 20 outing with a bruised left wrist, Maholm threw four solid innings against St. Louis before running out of gas in the fifth and sixth.
"Everything feels good," Maholm said after the Cardinals rallied to beat the Braves 6-2 on Thursday night. "I felt good the first four innings. I managed the lineup - until the fifth."
The Cardinals scored three runs during a seven-pitch stretch that allowed them go in front for good, 4-2.
Maholm was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day and was looking forward to his first outing in 32 days. He did not allow a hit until the fourth inning and retired seven batters in a row at one point.
"I thought he did fine for his first time in over a month," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That's a tough lineup to navigate. I thought he did a nice job.
He gave us an opportunity to win the game."
Maholm allowed five runs, four earned and five hits in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.
"It was good to get out there and compete against a tough lineup," Maholm said. "Hopefully in five days, I'll be able to make some adjustments and get back out there."
St. Louis starter Joe Kelly (5-3) admittedly was not at his finest in besting Maholm. Still, he was good enough to impress the hard-hitting NL East leaders.
"I didn't have any of my good stuff," said Kelly, who threw 109 pitches. "From pitch one — to the last pitch — nothing was easy."
Kelly improved to 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA in his five August starts. The Cardinals are 7-1 in his eight starts since he rejoined the starting rotation on July 6.
"We needed a solid outing from him and he was very good," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "He did a nice job for us."