Maybe the team was inspired by the moves GM John Schuerholz made before the deadline, or maybe having Mark Teixeira in the building is what did it, but whatever it was, today was an awful day to be an Astros pitcher. In the opening game of the three-game series, Atlanta brought out its big stick to lay a 12-4 beat-down onto the Houston Astros. Offense ruled the show today behind Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francoeur, who collected a combined seven hits in nine at bats with three homeruns, six RBI's, and five runs on the day. Edgar Renteria kept up his hot hitting with three hits in five at bats and Brian McCann racked up a homerun and a double in four trips to the plate. Julio Franco played first even though Mark Teixeira was eligible to play in the game. Teixeira made his way to the dugout after taking some batting practice and received a standing ovation when the video board showed him entering the dugout during the seventh inning. Today the Braves didn't need Teixeira's bat, but it can't hurt moving forward.
Chuck James took the ball today and earned the win despite giving up four earned runs in his five innings of work. After a first-inning homer to Lance Berkman, the young southpaw rolled right along until the fifth. James walked the first batter, then allowed two singles and a double, which chased home three runs without recording an out. It was 5-4 when Peter Moylan was brought on in the sixth. Moylan breezed through the first two batters, easily holding onto the one-run lead. Then a walk and a hard-hit ball right through Kelly Johnson's legs sent everything awry. Eric Bruntlett moved up from second to third on the botched play and then after the Jeff Francoeur throw back to the infield went under Edgar Renteria's glove, he headed home. Alertly, Chipper Jones picked up the ball, spun, and threw a perfect strike to McCann who tagged the tying run at the plate. Now the funniest thing about all this, Francoeur was credited with an assist. Tyler Yates came on next with a dominating seven-pitch inning, including one strikeout. Rafael Soriano and Jose Ascanio finished out the game with two perfect innings and quite a cushion to work with. Ascanio finished on a high note before he'll be optioned back to Mississippi.
Buddy Carlye will toe the rubber in the second game of the series against Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez. Mark Teixeira will make his anticipated debut with Atlanta in the game. The game is at 7:35 ET.