Paul Maholm cleared for rehab assignment

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David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Braves left-hander Paul Maholm has been cleared to make his first minor league rehab start on Saturday with Low-A Rome. He’s expected to throw about 90 pitches over six innings and may be allowed to rejoin the Atlanta starting rotation immediately after if the outing goes smoothly.

The Braves are stocked currently with good young starting pitchers and will probably have to shift one to the bullpen to make room. But that’s a problem that every major league team would want to have — not something to fret over.

Atlanta entered play Tuesday with a massive 14-game lead in the National League East standings.

The Braves’ 3.22 combined staff ERA ranks second in the majors, behind only the Pirates (3.16).

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.