Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Chipper Jones showed little rust in his 2012
debut on Tuesday, going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer as the Atlanta Braves
topped the Houston Astros, 6-4, in the middle tilt of a three-game set at
Minute Maid Park.
Jones missed the tail end of spring training and the first four games of
the season after surgery on March 26 to repair a torn meniscus in his left
"[Jones] made a statement that spring training is too long," Braves manager
Fredi Gonzalez joked. "He won the game single-handedly."
Tyler Pastornicky cracked a solo homer, Dan Uggla had an RBI double, while
Eric Hinske and Freddie Freeman also knocked in runs for the Braves, who
picked up their first win of the season and avoided starting 0-5 for the first
time since 1988.
Tommy Hanson (1-1) gave up two runs on six hits and three walks while fanning
eight in five innings for the win. Hard-throwing closer Craig Kimbrel secured
his first save of 2012 despite allowing the first two runners to reach base in
Carlos Lee went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBI, while Chris Johnson and Marwin
Gonzalez also knocked in runs for the Astros, who fell to 3-2 on the young
season. Jordan Schafer finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
Eric Weiland (0-1) took the loss after giving up four runs on eight hits and
two walks over five innings.
"This [loss] is on me," Weiland said. "My command wasn't great today."
The Astros opened the scoring in the second inning on an RBI single up the
middle by Gonzalez.
Atlanta came right back with three runs in the third inning. Brian McCann
started the rally by ripping a two-out single through the shift and into right
field, and Uggla followed with an RBI double to the deepest part of the ball
park to tie it at one. Jones then banged a hanging slider from Weiland about
five rows deep into the right field seats to put the Braves up 3-1.
The Braves added to their lead again when Pastornicky led off the fourth by
blasting a breaking ball from Weiland into the Crawford Boxes in left field to
make it 4-1. It was his first major league home run.
The Astros pulled to within 4-2 in the fifth, thanks in large part to Schafer,
who singled to lead off the frame, then stole second and third before coming
home on an RBI single to right by Lee.
The speed of Michael Bourn allowed the Braves to take a 5-2 lead in the
seventh when the former Astro worked a leadoff walk, stole second and advanced
to third on a groundout by Martin Prado. Freeman then chopped a grounder to
first and Bourn beat the throw home from Lee.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Astros answered with a pair of runs to cut
the deficit to 5-4. Schafer again led off the frame with a hit and J. D.
Martinez followed with a sharp single off the glove of Pastornicky at short to
put runners on the corners with one out.
Lee then rocketed a hanging breaking ball high off the wall in left to bring
home Schafer, and after pinch-hitter Matt Downs flew out, Johnson stepped in
and ripped a single up the middle to bring in Martinez.
Jason Heyward ripped a one-out single in the Braves' eighth and came around to
score on Hinske's two-out RBI single to left to give Atlanta an insurance run.
Kimbrel allowed a single to Lee to lead off the ninth, then walked pinch-
hitter Travis Buck before inducing a 4-6-3 double play from Johnson and
getting Chris Snyder to ground out to third to end the game.
Schafer also contributed three stolen bases for the Astros...Houston
celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Houston Colt .45s by wearing throwback
uniforms. The Colt .45s beat the Chicago Cubs in their first ever Major
League game on April 10, 1962...Hanson improved to 4-0 in his career against
the Astros...It was Jones' 455th career home run. He now has the third-most
home runs by a switch- hitter in major league history, behind only Mickey
Mantle and Eddie Murray...The 1988 Atlanta Braves started 0-10 and finished
the season 54-106...Houston finished 5-for-18 with runners in scoring position
and stranded 12.
04/11 02:16:13 ET
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