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NYM@SF: Harvey hurls six innings of three-run ball

After winning a three-game series in Philadelphia, their fifth straight series victory, the Braves head to New York for a three-game set with the Mets beginning on Friday. Before that series begins, however, the Braves got their first off-day in 13 days. During that stretch, Atlanta went 10-3.

While the Braves were off Thursday, however, the Mets finished up their home series against the Marlins with a victory to avoid a sweep and snap their nine-game home losing streak.

The Braves will send left-hander Paul Maholm to the mound on Friday. Maholm will be making his second start for the Braves since being traded to Atlanta by the Cubs on July 30.

Maholm's Braves debut was spoiled last Saturday when he gave up two home runs and lost, 3-2, to the Astros. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Maholm pitched well enough to beat the Astros, but didn't get enough support.

"Overall, I thought Maholm pitched very well," Gonzalez said. "We just didn't hit."

On Friday against the Mets, the Braves will look to correct that against right-hander Matt Harvey, who will be making his fourth start for New York, and first at Citi Field. Harvey was the seventh overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, and he made an impressive Major League debut, striking out 11 on July 26 against the D-backs.

"He said the other day, the one thing he's been looking forward to is pitching [Friday]," manager Terry Collins said. "He's going to have 100 people here, it's going to be a very special night for him to pitch his first game at home in front of his friends and family, and I'm anxious to see it. There's going to be a build-up, and I'm anxious to see how he handles it."

Braves: Heyward looks to keep rolling after turning 23
• Right fielder Jason Heyward celebrated his 23rd birthday on Thursday. He is enjoying his best season in the Major Leagues after suffering a sophomore slump last year.

Heyward is hitting .269 and is tied for the team lead in home runs with 18. He has thrived in the third spot of the lineup, and is hitting .297 since the start of June.

"He's taken to that spot," Gonzalez said. "During our last homestand, I'll bet he scored five or six times on doubles from first base. Nobody else on our team other than [Michael Bourn] would have scored."

Mets: Bay likely to get his shot in left-field platoon
• Collins said Wednesday that the Mets will move to a platoon in the corner outfield spots with Jason Bay continuing to struggle and Lucas Duda in Triple-A Buffalo to work on his swing. With the Braves starting Maholm on Friday, Bay should find his name in the starting lineup.

The right-handed hitter hasn't started either of the last two games, both against right-handed starters, instead giving way to Jordany Valdespin in left field and Mike Baxter in right.

"We're going to certainly pick our spots for [Bay] to play," Collins said. "I'll put him in against some right-handed pitchers that he's had good success against when he's starting to swing the bat like he's capable of."

Bay is hitting just .117 with one home run in 20 games since returning from the disabled list on July 17. Bay is 0-for-4 with two walks and two strikeouts against Maholm in his career.

Worth noting
• Maholm has pitched in Queens seven times, three at Shea Stadium and four at Citi Field. While Citi Field is known as a pitcher's park, Maholm has struggled there. He was 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA at Shea Stadium, but is 0-2 with an 8.80 ERA in four games at Citi Field.

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