Braves eye sweep of Twins in matinee affair

Not that scoring two or more runs is difficult to do, but the Atlanta Braves are 5-0 when doing so with Paul Maholm on the mound.

Maholm gets the call Wednesday in the finale of a three-game series versus the Minnesota Twins at Turner Field and has won two of three starts since a personal three-game losing streak. Atlanta gave Maholm eight runs of support in an 8-5 win Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers and he lasted six innings, allowing four runs -- two earned -- and eight hits.

The left-hander, who has allowed two runs in three of his previous four trips to the hill, is 5-4 in nine starts with a 3.83 earned run average. Maholm has made two career starts against Minnesota, going 0-1 with an 8.25 ERA.

Atlanta needed extra innings to pull out a 5-4 win over the Twins on Tuesday, as Freddie Freeman's RBI single plated Jason Heyward with the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning. Evan Gattis belted a pinch-hit solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra frames.

"I reacted to the breaking stuff," Gattis recalled of his home run. "I wasn't looking for it, just kind of happened."

Brian McCann also homered and went 3-for-4 at the plate, while Heyward ended with two hits and two runs scored for Atlanta, which is perfect through five games on a six-game homestand and sits 4 1/2 games ahead of Washington for the NL East lead.

Tim Hudson started for the Braves and did not record a decision with five innings of two-run ball. Closer Craig Kimbrel got the win with a scoreless top of the 10th inning.

The Braves are 14-5 at Turner Field this season and will embark on a five-game road trip against the Mets and Blue Jays on Friday.

Minnesota is mired in a seven-game slide and almost ended its skid last night, but relievers Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing ruined the chance.

Perkins served up Gattis' homer and Duensing allowed the game-winning hit to Freeman for the Twins, who are 0-2 on a nine-game road trip.

"It happens," Perkins said of the homer to Gattis. "You got to make good pitches. (Gattis) is up there to do one thing and he did it. We've been struggling, guys fought back and we got a lead. Just bad timing you know."

Justin Morneau, Ryan Doumit and Pedro Florimon all had two hits and an RBI, while Joe Mauer broke out of his recent funk to finish 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Mauer was hitless in his previous two games (0-for-8).

Mike Pelfrey started for Minnesota and lasted two innings, allowing two runs and four hits in the no-decision. Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe left the game in the 10th inning after being kicked in the head by Braves second baseman Dan Uggla while trying to break up a double play. He is day-to-day.

"He got hit hard," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They're doing testing on him right now. He took a knee to the head and I think you guys all saw it. So they're doing testing right now and we'll know more later."

After wrapping up this set in Atlanta, the Twins will head to Detroit for four games at Comerica Park.

Vance Worley is coming off his best outing as a Twin even though it was a 3-2 loss against Boston. Worley, who did not receive a decision with six strong innings, draws the start Wednesday.

Worley held the Red Sox to an unearned run on six hits and three walks and remained 1-4 through nine starts to go along with a 6.20 ERA. The bespectacled right-hander started the season 0-4 with a 6.95 ERA and hopes his recent resurgence continues.

In six career meetings (4 starts) with Atlanta, Worley is 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA. He familiarized himself with the Braves after spending the start of his career (2010-2012) with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Braves and Twins are meeting for the first time since Atlanta won two of three in the Twin Cities back in 2010. The last time the Twins played a regular season game or a playoff game in Atlanta was during the 1991 World Series. Minnesota won the series in seven games.