Braves win second straight over Astros
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves left Houston in a much better mood than when they arrived in Texas.
Jason Heyward homered and drove in two runs, David Ross hit a two-run double in his 2012 debut and the Braves beat the Astros 6-3 on Wednesday night.
Atlanta was swept in its opening series at New York, then lost to Houston on Monday to drop to 0-4. But it bounced back with two consecutive wins against the Astros to take the series and gain some momentum heading into Friday's home opener.
"It stinks to lose and it's nice to win a series and hopefully this puts us on a little roll," Ross said.
Ross, the backup catcher, drove in Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla with a double to center in the fourth, giving the Braves a 3-1 lead. Heyward, who finished with three hits, added an insurance run with his solo shot to right in the eighth.
"That was definitely a momentum killer for them," Heyward said of his homer.
The performance by Ross came a night after Jones came off the disabled list and hit a two-run homer to lead the Braves to their first win of the year after starting 0-4 for the first time since 1988.
Heyward also had a tying RBI single in the second.
J.D. Martinez homered and drove in two runs for the Astros, who committed four errors after not making any since having four on opening day.
"They made a couple of miscues and we took advantage of it which is good to see," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Atlanta starter Randall Delgado (1-0) struck out six in five innings while yielding two runs and five hits.
Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (0-1) gave up four runs, three earned, and six hits in five innings.
The Astros loaded the bases in the fourth and seventh, but got just one run out of those opportunities. They also put runners at first and third with two outs in the ninth before Craig Kimbrel struck out Carlos Lee for his second save.
"Tonight was another tough night; we could not get the big hit," Lee said. "But if we keep putting ourselves in this position, the hits will come."
Gonzalez credited Ross for helping the 22-year-old Delgado get out of some jams and raved about his value to the team.
"He runs the pitching staff," Gonzalez said of Ross. "He knows his role and those guys are hard to find. He complements (catcher Brian McCann) terrifically. It's a nice piece to have."
Atlanta increased its lead to 6-3 when Martin Prado scored on right fielder Justin Maxwell's throwing error in the ninth.
The Astros trimmed the Braves' lead to 4-3 in the seventh, but couldn't come up with a big hit to take control. They loaded the bases with one out, but Eric O'Flaherty got Martinez to fly out to right. Lee walked to force in a run before pinch hitter Matt Downs bounced into a fielder's choice.
The Braves went in front for good in the fourth. Jones hit a leadoff single and Uggla reached on an error by rookie shortstop Marwin Gonzalez. Heyward singled to load the bases and Ross' double drove in two. Jack Wilson's sacrifice scored Heyward to stretch the lead to 4-1.
An error by Rodriguez allowed Delgado to reach with one out and he walked Prado with two outs. But Rodriguez was able to limit the damage by striking out Freddie Freeman.
"Wandy, he really got frustrated with himself," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "We had a good talk after he came out of the game. He really let that 0-2 double to Ross get to him. He let that pitch get to him, and the inning really kind of deteriorated after that."
Delgado was struck by Martinez's comebacker in the fifth, but remained in the game after a trainer came out to look at his left foot. Jordan Schafer scored on the play, cutting Atlanta's lead to 4-2.
NOTES: Braves RHP Tim Hudson, on the disabled list after back surgery, is scheduled to make his second rehabilitation start on Thursday night for Single-A Rome. He allowed one earned run with four hits in three innings in his first start there on Saturday. ... Houston SS Jed Lowrie, on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right thumb, is expected to be activated from the DL on Friday. ... Both teams are off Thursday before the Braves open their home schedule against Milwaukee and Houston travels to Miami.