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Atlanta at Houston

Scoreboard
Atlanta (71-67) «010010000250
Houston (67-71)000000001170

Braves 2, Astros 1

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Atlanta manager Bobby Cox thinks Javier Vazquez would be in the running for the NL Cy Young Award had the Braves produced better run support for him this season.

Vazquez struck out nine and allowed three hits in seven shutout innings and the Braves snapped a five-game losing skid with a 2-1 victory against the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

Vazquez (12-9) lowered his ERA to 3.06, but Atlanta has scored three runs or fewer in 13 games he has started and lost 10 of those.

"He could have 18," Cox said. "He could be right on for Cy Young. He never gets talked about, but with any luck at all, he'd be right there with 'em."

Adam LaRoche and Nate McLouth hit solo home runs off Felipe Paulino for Atlanta. Rafael Soriano gave up a run in the ninth, but recovered to earn his 22nd save.

"It was a good game for us," Vazquez said. "We have to keep battling and see where we're at. We have to do it."

Miguel Tejada led off the ninth with a triple to center and scored on Hunter Pence's single. Geoff Blum grounded into a double play and pinch hitter Aaron Boone lined out for the final out.

"We just couldn't get the big hit," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "It's tough to put anything together when you're not putting the ball in play."

Paulino (2-8) gave up four hits and struck out six in six innings, and lost his fourth consecutive decision. But the 25-year-old right-hander has looked better with each outing since he was recalled from the minors on Aug. 18.

"I feel comfortable," he said. "I always try to stay that way in my mind."

Vazquez fanned Astros leadoff man Michael Bourn to reach 200 strikeouts for the third consecutive season and fifth time in his career. Vazquez struck out five of the first 10 hitters he faced.

LaRoche hit a home run into the Astros bullpen in the second, his 21st of the season. LaRoche came in hitting .342 since joining the Braves in a July 31 trade with Boston.

Paulino missed the strike zone on 25 of his first 50 pitches. He threw a wild pitch and gave up three walks in the first three innings.

McLouth hit a home run to right with one out in the fifth, his 17th of the season. Martin Prado followed with a single to center, but Paulino picked him off with a quick move to first baseman Lance Berkman.

Vazquez retired 11 in a row after Carlos Lee's single leading off the second. Blum lined a two-out single to left in the Astros' fifth, but Humberto Quintero flew out on Vazquez's next pitch.

The Astros loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth. Tejada then hit a hard grounder that ricocheted off Vazquez's glove. Third baseman Chipper Jones charged in, scooped it up and threw out Tejada by a step.

"Chipper's play was huge," Vazquez said. "I thought he was going to be safe when I hit with my glove."

Pence singled and Blum walked leading off the Houston half of the seventh. Edwin Maysonet advanced the runners with a bunt, but Vazquez escaped again by striking out Darin Erstad and Bourn.

"Any time you can put away hitters, you can get out of jams like that," catcher Brian McCann said. "He beared down right there and made his best pitches of the night."

Left-hander Mike Gonzalez, who blew a save against Cincinnati on Sunday, relieved Vazquez in the eighth. Berkman hit a one-out single before Lee grounded into a double play.

Notes

LaRoche has hits in 22 of his past 25 games. ... Vazquez is the sixth active pitcher with five or more 200-strikeout seasons. The others are Randy Johnson (13), Pedro Martinez (9), Johan Santana (5) and John Smoltz (5). ... INF Chris Johnson, whose minor league contract was purchased by the Astros on Monday, was beaned by RHP Yorman Bazardo during batting practice on Tuesday. "It's all right, it was a mistake," Johnson said. "It happens in baseball. That's why we wear helmets. I'm all right."

 
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

H. Pence
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Atlanta

J. Vazquez
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 4
K 9
 
Atlanta Braves
Nate McLouth, CF3111111 .260
Martin Prado, 2B3010122 .299
Chipper Jones, 3B3000121 .270
Brian McCann, C4000012 .274
Garret Anderson, LF4000002 .278
    Reid Gorecki, LF0000000 .227
Yunel Escobar, SS3000110 .302
Adam LaRoche, 1B4111001 .272
Ryan Church, RF4000011 .275
Javier Vazquez, P3020000 .207
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
Totals3125248  
Batting
HR - Nate McLouth (17, Paulino), Adam LaRoche (22, Paulino)
RBI - Nate McLouth (59), Adam LaRoche (64)
PK - Martin Prado (1, Paulino)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Gonzalez-Escobar-LaRoche, Prado-Escobar-LaRoche
Atlanta Braves
Javier Vazquez (W,12-9) 7300490 3.06
Mike Gonzalez (H,15) 1100000 2.45
Rafael Soriano (S,22) 1311000 2.53
Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 110-69, Mike Gonzalez 10-7, Rafael Soriano 17-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 6-6, Mike Gonzalez 1-1, Rafael Soriano 1-1
Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 28, Mike Gonzalez 3, Rafael Soriano 5
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF3000122 .296
Kazuo Matsui, 2B3000010 .241
Lance Berkman, 1B4010012 .268
Carlos Lee, LF3010101 .306
Miguel Tejada, SS4110004 .303
Hunter Pence, RF4021021 .288
Geoff Blum, 3B3010102 .259
Humberto Quintero, C2000011 .235
   a- Edwin Maysonet, PH0000000 .290
    Chris Coste, C1010000 .229
    Tommy Manzella, PR0000000 .000
Felipe Paulino, P1000010 .053
   b- Jason Michaels, PH0000100 .233
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .000
   c- Darin Erstad, PH1000012 .207
    Doug Brocail, P0000000 .000
    Jeff Fulchino, P0000000 .333
   d- Aaron Boone, PH1000001 .000
Totals3017149  
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Quintero in the 7th
b-walked for Paulino in the 6th
c-struck out for Byrdak in the 7th
d-lined out for Fulchino in the 9th
Batting
3B - Miguel Tejada (1, Soriano)
SH - Kazuo Matsui (13), Edwin Maysonet (4)
RBI - Hunter Pence (68)
Team LOB - 8
Houston Astros
Felipe Paulino (L,2-8) 6422362 6.34
Tim Byrdak 1100000 2.81
Doug Brocail 1000010 4.35
Jeff Fulchino 1000110 3.42
WP - Felipe Paulino (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Felipe Paulino 88-53, Tim Byrdak 19-16, Doug Brocail 9-6, Jeff Fulchino 16-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Felipe Paulino 6-5, Doug Brocail 1-1
Batters Faced - Felipe Paulino 24, Tim Byrdak 4, Doug Brocail 3, Jeff Fulchino 4
Game Information
Attendance - 26081
Game Time - 2:33
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Bruce Dreckman, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Todd Tichenor, Third Base - Gary Darling