Chipper Jones returns from D.L. and leads Braves to first win
Braves starter Tommy Hanson continued his mastery of the Astros and improved his record to 4-0 against Houston in tonight’s 6-4 Braves win. Hanson struck out eight in five innings of work and left the game with a 4-2 lead. Houston starter Kyle Weiland made his National League debut, allowing four runs on eight hits over five innings. Weiland looked good at times, striking out five and getting lots of swinging strikes, but the young right-hander was victimized by a pair of longballs that would be the difference in the game.
Tyler Pastornicky hit his first big league homer in the fourth inning after a couple of ugly looking swings earlier in the at-bat. Weiland left a fastball over the inner half of the plate and Pastornicky deposited it into the Crawford boxes. Chipper Jones also went deep in his first game back from knee surgery. The Braves gambled that Jones was ready to play without going on a minor league rehab assignment and the gamble paid off. Atlanta entered the game with a record of 0-4 and 3B Juan Francisco made three errors in last night’s game. Surely the veteran Jones would be an upgrade for the Braves – and was he ever. Astros leadoff hitter Jordan Schafer immediately tested Chipper with a bunt down the third base line in the first inning. The veteran charged in and made the play, proving that he was healthy and ready to contribute.
Schafer came up swinging in his ensuing at-bats and was almost unstoppable. Schafer banged out three straight singles and stole three bases before being called out on strikes in his final plate appearance. Carlos Lee drew a pair of walks his first two times up and went 3 for 3 on the night with two RBIs. The Astros had twelve hits in the game but were unable to deliver in the clutch, leaving a total of 12 runners stranded. Hanson struck out Brian Bogusevic and Chris Johnson with the bases loaded to end a scoring threat in the third inning. Johnson and J.D. Martinez had trouble laying off breaking balls out of the strike zone and combined for five strikeouts.
The Astros celebrated the 50th anniversary of the franchise’s very first game by wearing throwback uniforms that included a gun on the jersey. MLB had originally requested that the Astros drop the gun from the insignia but finally caved when they came to the realization that the Braves jersey logo included a tomahawk, which can also be considered a deadly weapon.