Braves send Maholm to hill in finale with Brewers

Lefty Paul Maholm can provide himself an early birthday present on Sunday when his Atlanta Braves visit Miller Park for the finale of a three-game weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers.

A native of Mississippi, Maholm will turn 31 on Tuesday after making the 232nd start of his big-league career and 23rd against Milwaukee.

He's just 3-11 in the initial meetings with the Brewers, against whom he's posted a 5.12 earned run average while allowing 144 hits and striking out 91 batters in 133 2/3 innings.

The former first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates split his initial eight decisions this season before a three-game win streak that covered four starts between May 17 and June 2.

He's 0-2 in his last three outings, however, while allowing 20 hits and eight runs in exactly 20 innings of work against the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego and the New York Mets.

For Milwaukee, Dominican-born righty Alfredo Figaro makes his fifth start of the season and ninth of his career in his 34th big-league appearance.

The 28-year-old, who entered the season without a major-league win since 2009, has split two decisions in his last two appearances after opening 2013 with 18 consecutive no-decisions between starting and relieving.

He downed the Miami Marlins, 10-1, for his initial win of the year on June 12, then dropped a 10-1 verdict at Houston six days later after allowing five runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings at Minute Maid Park.

Figaro has never faced the Braves.

On Saturday, Aramis Ramirez and Juan Francisco each drove in one run and Donovan Hand tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings in his first major league start as the Brewers blanked the Braves, 2-0.

Ramirez, who finished 3-for-4 with a run scored, needs just one hit for 2,000 in his career. Hand allowed just two hits and struck out three while Burke Badenhop (1-3) earned the win after pitching 1 1/3 scoreless frames in relief.

Francisco Rodriguez worked around a one-out single in the ninth to notch his 300th career save and sixth of the season.

"For them to come out swinging so much," Hand said. "We didn't have to throw a lot of pitches and I didn't have to throw everything."

The struggles continued for Atlanta starter Tim Hudson (4-7), who is 0-6 over his last nine outings while receiving just 10 runs of support. He lasted six frames and yielded both runs on seven hits and four walks in defeat.

"You've just got to keep grinding things out," Hudson said. "That's baseball. Unfortunately, you're going to lose games like that. I felt fine. Unfortunately you don't think you would lose a game on a couple of hits like that. I feel confident in this team."

The Braves, losers in five of six, have also dropped a season-high five straight on the road, where they are 11-22 since April 19.

B.J. Upton and Andrelton Simmons each collected two hits to account for the Atlanta's total of four on the afternoon.

The Braves and Brewers split six games in 2012 with the home team winning each time.