[June 26, 2014]HOUSTON -- Following a stint with
Triple-A Gwinnett with a directive to regain stamina as a starter,
Atlanta Braves left-hander Alex Wood earned an opportunity to fill the
void left by the loss of right-hander Gavin Floyd to an elbow fracture
Wood capitalized on the moment Wednesday by pitching seven
shutout innings and, backed by percolating left fielder Justin
Upton, led the Braves to a 4-0 win over the Houston Astros at Minute
Wood (6-6) allowed three hits and one walk while striking out four.
He needed just 79 pitches to complete seven innings, allowing just
three baserunners into scoring position. Before his departure on
June 10 and before making two starts with Gwinnett, Wood last
pitched more than five innings April 22 during a 1-0 loss to the
"It felt good," Wood said. "It felt good to be back out there and be
back on the mound with these guys, and I was just hoping I could go
long and not have to weigh the bullpen down. Fortunately I was able
to go as deep as I could."
The Astros (33-46) have lost eight of nine since closing to within
six games of .500 on June 14. They were shut out for the third time
during that stretch and have scored four runs during their four-game
"It was different from last night where we had a lot of chances with
men in scoring position and we didn't get the big hit," Astros
manager Bo Porter said. "We struggled just to even mount some
"Give the guy (Wood) credit because, any time you get shut out,
obviously the other team is doing something well. He did a great
job, he was efficient with his pitch count, he attacked the strike
zone and we had some hittable pitches and did not put quality swings
Justin Upton drove in three runs and older brother B.J. Upton
doubled and scored in the eighth. The Braves (40-37) improved to 4-2
on their 11-game trip.
With Wood having made only two starts for Gwinnett, the Braves aimed
for caution with his pitch count. Wood mitigated those concerns.
Through five innings Wood had tossed just 49 pitches. He worked
around a leadoff double by center fielder Dexter Fowler in the first
and a two-out double by first baseman Jon Singleton in the fourth.
Wood retired the Astros in order in the second, third and fifth
innings. When Singleton strode to the plate with two on base and two
outs in the sixth inning, Wood struck him out on an 83 mph changeup.
"It was nice running him down there (to Gwinnett)," Braves manager
Fredi Gonzalez said. "We wanted to get him at least three or four
starts, not two, but I think it was nice that we did that because he
was able to give us a spot start and stay in the rotation now that
Gavin is out and give us an opportunity to win a game every fifth
While Wood was exceptional, Astros right-hander Collin McHugh (4-6)
was his equal -- save for his inability to keep Justin Upton
corralled. McHugh had eight strikeouts through six innings yet
trailed 1-0 thanks to Upton's sacrifice fly that scored left fielder
Evan Gattis in the second.
When Upton stepped in for his third plate appearance in the seventh,
right fielder Jason Heyward was on first after a one-out hit by
pitch. Upton cranked a titanic opposite-field homer into the Astros'
bullpen in right-center field, scoring Heyward and boosting the
Braves' lead to 3-0.
"For me it was the Heyward at-bat where I hit (him)," McHugh said.
"When you put guys on base for Upton, who is an RBI machine, things
are going to happen, especially late in the game. I was up around
100 pitches and maybe I was getting tired. I don't know, but you
can't give a guy free bases."
NOTES: Astros prospect Carlos Correa had arthroscopic surgery on
Wednesday to correct a fractured right fibula suffered last Saturday
night with Class A Lancaster. Correa, the Astros' top prospect and
the seventh in baseball, will miss the remainder of the minor league
season. However, the Astros remain hopeful that he might recover in
time to participate in the Arizona Fall League. ... The Astros
recalled OF L.J. Hoes from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned OF
Robbie Grossman to the RedHawks. In 21 games (20 starts) since his
recall from Oklahoma City on May 26, Grossman hit .182/.299/.227 for
the Astros. ... Braves RHP David Carpenter will throw a second
bullpen session Thursday and will likely be sent on a rehab
assignment soon thereafter. Carpenter was placed on the 15-day
disabled list June 17 with a strained right biceps.