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Bats Wake up for the Atlanta Braves, Cruise Past Houston Astros

June 11th, 2011 at 12:12 AM
By Cody Fields

The lumber came alive in a big way for the Atlanta Braves tonight as they pelted the Houston Astros 11-4 in the first of a four-game series.

"We got into some hitters' counts and swung the bat," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.


Center fielder Jordan Schaffer got it started out for the Bravos in the first inning by stealing second base after a lead off walk, which put him in position to be driven in by rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman.

The top of the lineup kept things rolling in the third with a four-run inning started with a Chipper Jones RBI single. Freeman then blasted a two-run home run deep into the second deck in right field of Minute Made Park. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez followed suit on the next pitch.

"(Freeman) is growing as a major league player, a major league hitter, and we're seeing what I think everybody has seen since he's been in the organization – this guy can swing the bat," Fredi Gonzalez said.

The hit parade continued in the top of the fifth with RBIs from Jones, Gonzalez and outfielder Matt Young.

Atlanta's scoring was capped off by homers by Hinske and Jones in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

Tim Hudson managed to keep his sinker down in the zone and picked up his first win since May 4. He threw six innings, struck out four and gave up two runs on seven hits in order to even his record at 5-5.

"If I can get a good sinker going, I don't really care where I'm pitching," Hudson said about pitching in a hitter's park. "If it's not sinking, this ain't the place you want to pitch, that's for sure."

Michael Bourn provided one of the few bright spots for Houston, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and a home run short of the cycle.

Astros right fielder Hunter Pence left the game in the third inning after tweaking his back in the first inning trying to leg out a grounder.

Dan Uggla raised his major league worst batting average to .170 with a double in the third inning, just his second extra base hit in his last 22 games.

Aneury Rodriguez took the loss for the Astros. He gave up six runs in four innings of work.

The Braves called up infielder Brandon Hicks today to take Martin Prado's roster spot. Prado was placed on the 15-day disabled list in order to treat a staph infection in his right calf.

"It's important for us to win ballgames right now while we've got so many people injured, so that when we do get them back, we can hopefully continue to do so," Jones said.

The win was the Braves' fourth straight, keeping them two games back of the Philadelphia Phillies, who beat the Chicago Cubs tonight.

Atlanta's Mike Minor  (0-2, 5.06 ERA) will go up against Houston's Jordan Lyles (0-1, 4.91 ERA) tomorrow at 7:05 p.m., EDT.

Tags: Alex Gonzalez, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Baseball, Chipper Jones, Dan Uggla, Eric Hinske, Fredi Gonzalez, Houston Astros, Hunter Pence, Jordan Schaffer, Martin Prado, Matt Young, Michael Bourn, MLB, NL East, Tim Hudson

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