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Atlanta at Houston

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Atlanta200000000260
Houston «20004100x7110

Astros 7, Braves 2

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Houston Astros rookie starter Fernando Nieve quickly forgot about his only mistake against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.

Nieve shut down Atlanta after a shaky first inning, striking out a career-high nine in the Astros' 7-2 victory.

Atlanta mustered only two hits off Nieve after Andruw Jones' two-run homer in the first inning.

"I tried to forget the hit and start working again," Nieve said. "I was so happy we were able to win."

Nieve (2-3) allowed five hits in 7 1/3 innings, the second strong start by an Astros' rookie this week. On Wednesday, Chris Sampson threw seven innings in Houston's 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs.

This time, the Astros provided run support to match the pitching.

Mike Lamb homered for the second straight game and Craig Biggio also homered for Houston, which has won four straight since five consecutive losses. Preston Wilson added a two-run double during Houston's four-run fifth.

"The biggest momentum starts with your pitcher," Wilson said, "but when you get some big at-bats in a row, guys start feeling like their pitcher is getting a little vulnerable."

Braves starter Jorge Sosa (1-8) lasted only 4 2/3 innings as Atlanta lost for the 10th time in 12 games.

Nieve's nine strikeouts were the most by a Houston rookie since Carlos Hernandez had that many against the Los Angeles Dodgers in September 2002.

"My location was very good, my slider was good," Nieve said. "My fastball, the speed was up, and that made my slider work better."

Chad Qualls finished the eighth for Nieve and Russ Springer pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.

The Braves' big-hitting Joneses -- Chipper and Andruw -- jumped on Nieve in the first inning for a quick 2-0 lead. Chipper singled sharply to center before Andruw hammered the first pitch he saw to the railroad tracks in left field.

The Astros answered immediately, though, on solo homers by Biggio and Lamb, who was batting second for the first time this season.

The 40-year-old Biggio lined his sixth homer of the season into the left-field seats, his 47th career leadoff homer. Biggio leads the National League in the category and trails only Rickey Henderson, who hit 80, on the all-time list.

Lamb, a backup first baseman who homered in Thursday's 7-4 win over the Braves, followed Biggio with a towering shot to the upper deck in right field, the first back-to-back homers for Houston this year.

Lamb said he was only taking advantage of batting in front of Lance Berkman, who leads the team with 18 homers.

"Having a hitter behind you of that caliber makes the pitcher throw a lot of strikes," Lamb said. "It's not about the 2 hole, it's about hitting before him."

The Braves mustered only two hits off Nieve after Jones' home run.

"It's awfully deflating, you come out and jump on top, and four pitches later, it's 2-2," Chipper Jones said. "We're not doing a good job of shutting people down after we score."

"Something has to change here pretty soon."

Lamb hit Sosa hard again in the third, sending the first pitch off the wall in left, only a few feet from another home run.

"I knew I hit pretty good, it's just quirky out there," Lamb said. "I guess it was just bad aim. If I was any good, I would've known my field and hit it a little to the left."

Berkman left Lamb stranded, grounding out. But Sosa couldn't escape more trouble in the fifth.

With one out, Biggio singled, Lamb beat out a slow grounder and Berkman walked to load the bases. Morgan Ensberg then flied out deep to the left-field corner and Biggio scored easily.

Wilson, batting .373 in Houston's last 14 games, then ripped a double down the left-field line, scoring Lamb and Berkman for a 5-2 lead. Wilson came home on Chris Burke's single to left that knocked out Sosa.

"The offensive production was very good," Houston manager Phil Garner said. "We had people up and down the board that did a nice job."

Adam Everett scored on Berkman's bases loaded groundout in the sixth for a 7-2 lead.

Brian McCann led off the Braves' eighth with a single to left, Atlanta's first hit since McCann opened the fifth with a single. Ryan Langerhans followed with a walk, Nieve's first of the game.

Pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit grounded out, but that was it for Nieve, who walked off to a standing ovation.

Notes

Biggio's 266th career homer left him two behind Joe Morgan, who's fourth on the all-time list for second basemen. ... McCann, playing for the first time since spraining his left ankle on May 20, went 3-for-3. ... The Astros have won four straight for the first time since April 14-18. ... Houston's starters have a 1.32 ERA during the current winning streak. ... Garner said Ensberg is "day to day" after bruising his shoulder diving for a foul ball.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
Houston

M. Lamb
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Houston

F. Nieve
IP 7.1
H 5
ER 2
BB 1
K 9
 
Atlanta Braves
Marcus Giles, 2B4000012 .240
    Tyler Yates, P0000000 .000
Edgar Renteria, SS4000032 .316
Chipper Jones, 3B4110030 .291
Andruw Jones, CF4112000 .278
Adam LaRoche, 1B4010000 .250
Jeff Francoeur, RF4000031 .249
Brian McCann, C3030000 .363
Ryan Langerhans, LF2000102 .246
Jorge Sosa, P2000021 .118
    Chad Paronto, P0000000 .000
    Macay McBride, P0000000 .000
    Oscar Villarreal, P0000000 .000
   a- Wilson Betemit, PH-2B1000000 .286
Totals322621128 
a-grounded out for Villarreal in the 8th
Batting
2B - Adam LaRoche (15, Springer)
HR - Andruw Jones (16, Nieve)
RBI - Andruw Jones 2 (56)
2-OUT RBI - Andruw Jones 2 (20)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Renteria-Giles-LaRoche
Atlanta Braves
Jorge Sosa (L,1-8) 4.21066152 5.58
Chad Paronto 0.2111110 2.93
Macay McBride 0.1000100 4.15
Oscar Villarreal 1.1000010 4.60
Tyler Yates 1000010 6.23
Pitches-Strikes - Jorge Sosa 79-52, Chad Paronto 17-10, Macay McBride 8-3, Oscar Villarreal 16-11, Tyler Yates 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jorge Sosa 6-2, Chad Paronto 1-0, Macay McBride 1-0, Oscar Villarreal 2-1, Tyler Yates 1-1
Batters Faced - Jorge Sosa 24, Chad Paronto 4, Macay McBride 2, Oscar Villarreal 4, Tyler Yates 3
Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B5221022 .280
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
Mike Lamb, 1B-3B3231100 .366
Lance Berkman, RF-1B3101111 .304
Morgan Ensberg, 3B3001012 .256
    Eric Bruntlett, RF0000000 .288
Preston Wilson, LF4122000 .273
Chris Burke, CF-2B4021021 .291
Brad Ausmus, C4010002 .295
Adam Everett, SS4110012 .209
Fernando Nieve, P2000110 .143
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000000 .239
    Willy Taveras, CF0000000 .260
Totals3371173810 
a-grounded out for Qualls in the 8th
Batting
2B - Mike Lamb (6, Sosa), Preston Wilson (8, Sosa)
HR - Craig Biggio (6, Sosa), Mike Lamb (5, Sosa)
SF - Morgan Ensberg (2)
RBI - Craig Biggio (22), Mike Lamb (12), Lance Berkman (52), Morgan Ensberg (39), Preston Wilson 2 (29), Chris Burke (14)
2-OUT RBI - Preston Wilson 2 (14), Chris Burke (7)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Lamb-Everett-Nieve
Houston Astros
Fernando Nieve (W,2-3) 7.1522191 4.85
Chad Qualls 0.2000010 3.79
Russ Springer 1100020 3.27
Pitches-Strikes - Fernando Nieve 96-69, Chad Qualls 4-4, Russ Springer 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Fernando Nieve 5-7
Batters Faced - Fernando Nieve 27, Chad Qualls 2, Russ Springer 4
Game Information
Attendance - 37097
Game Time - 2:37
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Paul Nauert