CHICAGO — Paul Maholm’s bad start got even worse when he was forced to leave in the fourth inning with a sprained left wrist.
Unable to protect a four-run lead, Maholm lasted long enough to be tagged with the loss as the Atlanta Braves were beaten by the Chicago White Sox, 10-6, on Saturday.
Maholm didn’t record an out in the fourth inning before exiting the game. He allowed seven earned runs against the weak-hitting White Sox.
After Alejandro De Aza fouled off a pitch, Maholm walked off the mound toward catcher Evan Gattis and was shaking his throwing hand a bit. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and trainer Jeff Porter went to the mound and took Maholm out of the game because of an aggravation of a previous injury.
“He did it in Miami his last start when he was hitting. Kind of a check swing or something,” Gonzalez said. “In the fourth it flared up on him a little bit and we didn’t want to take any more chances. We got him out of there as soon as we saw something.”
Gonzalez said he didn’t think Maholm would have to go on the disabled list. X-rays taken were negative. “I think it was more warming up in the fourth,” Maholm said. “My warmup pitches going out in the fourth were extremely high. It was bothering me where I didn’t think I should keep going.
“I don’t think it’s anything major where there’s any concern. Hopefully in the next day or so it will be good to go and I’ll go throw.”
It was the third consecutive rough start for Maholm (9-9), who has an ERA over 10 in those losses. Maholm, who pitched 251/3 scoreless innings to open the season, allowed seven hits and two walks with no strikeouts Saturday.
“It’s frustrating to lose three in a row when I’m out there, and to give up a four run lead,” Maholm said. “It’s not the first time I’ve gone through a bad stretch in my career and it’s probably not going to be the last one. It’s no fun.”
The Braves homered twice to increase their NL-leading total to 118. Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman both hit two-run shots, but that wasn’t nearly enough offense for Atlanta.
Alex Rios had three hits, including a grand slam, and five runs batted in, and Jake Peavy pitched six solid innings in his return from the disabled list to lead the White Sox.
Rios went 3 for 5 to snap out of a 2-for-20 slump, and responded to being benched on Friday for not running out a grounder.
Peavy (7-4) got off to a shaky start. He allowed Uggla’s homer in the second and two more runs in the third. He shut down the Braves during his final three innings.
Peavy allowed seven hits in six innings, and two of the four runs he gave up were earned.
“I probably came out of the gate a little too fast because I was excited,” Peavy said. “I had a little extra adrenaline, but the feel wasn’t there. I was able to pull the reins back a little toward the middle and get my feel back a little bit to where I was throwing the ball more consistently to where I wanted it.
“The boys picked me up today. The team came back and Alex got a big hit. It was a fun day.”
NOTES: Braves RHP Brandon Beachy, recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2012, pitched five innings to get the win in a minor league rehab start on Friday. “He threw the ball really well,” Gonzalez said. “The report after the game was it’s the best he’s felt in a while.” ... Braves LHP Mike Minor (9-4) faces LHP Jose Quintana (4-2) in the series finale on Sunday.