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Atlanta at Houston

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Atlanta (72-68) «3302100009162
Houston (68-72)1031000207130

Braves snap hitting woes vs. Oswalt, Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Roy Oswalt just can't figure out the Atlanta Braves.

Garret Anderson drove in three runs, Nate McLouth homered and Atlanta broke out of its offensive slump with a 9-7 win over Oswalt and the Houston Astros on Thursday night.

Brian McCann had four hits and two RBI for the Braves, who finished with 16 hits, two shy of their season high. Atlanta's run total was its highest since a 9-1 win over Philadelphia on Aug. 29.

"We did a lot of hitting," manager Bobby Cox said. "Everyone seemed to chip in with it."

Oswalt (8-6) gave up six runs and 10 hits -- matching a season worst -- in two innings, dropping to 0-3 with a 7.58 ERA in seven career starts against Atlanta.

"He left some pitches up, which he normally doesn't do," McCann said. "We were able to put some good swings on it. It was definitely something we needed to do."

The Braves had scored a total of 10 runs and batted .153 in their previous six games, but led 3-0 after 12 pitches.

Oswalt left his previous start with soreness in his back and departed the clubhouse without speaking to reporters after this one, but manager Cecil Cooper said the right-hander's back wasn't bothering him.

"It looked like the ball was coming out of his hand OK, but he was just having trouble getting his pitches where he needed them," Cooper said. "The back wasn't an issue. I went over to him and asked him about it, but he told me it was fine."

Lance Berkman hit a three-run homer for the Astros, who lost for the third time in Oswalt's last 13 starts.

Houston put two runners on with one out in the ninth against Mike Gonzalez, but Miguel Tejada grounded into his third double play of the game. Gonzalez earned his 10th save.

"I wish I could do better than I did, but that is part of the game," said Tejada, who became the first Astros player to ground into three double plays. "I try to do good every day, but today was the kind of day where nothing was working out for me."

McLouth hit the second pitch of the game into the Astros' bullpen, his second homer of the series. Yunel Escobar then doubled to left-center and scored on Chipper Jones' single to right.

McCann ended an 0-for-20 slump with a single and Jones scored on Anderson's sacrifice fly to left.

Atlanta added three more in the second. McCann doubled in McLouth to give the Braves a 4-1 lead. Anderson and Adam LaRoche added RBI singles.

Tejada thought Oswalt's back must have been hurting, despite what he told Cooper.

"I was surprised to see the way he was," Tejada said. "He is one of those pitchers that just does not ever give in. We have to think he did what he did because of his back."

Derek Lowe (14-9) allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, managing to win for the second time in five starts. The right-hander reached 14 wins for the sixth time in 13 seasons but is disappointed with his year.

"It's been kind of a struggle for me," Lowe said. "If it was a normal year, where you're a lot more consistent, then you can kind of settle down. But this is kind of how I've been pitching for so long. It's been a long season."

Berkman hit his 19th homer off the facade in left center in the third, cutting Atlanta's lead to 6-4. Umpires used instant replay to confirm the ball cleared the yellow line by about a foot.

The first baseman hadn't homered in 32 games, one shy of the longest drought of his career.

Notes

  • Atlanta reached 10 hits for the first time since an 8-7 loss to Florida on Sept. 2.
  • McLouth has three leadoff homers this season and six in his career.
  • Houston 3B Geoff Blum was out of the lineup after bruising his left shin and spraining his left ankle sliding into second base on Wednesday. "We'll give him a few days," Cooper said. Chris Johnson, whose minor league contract was purchased on Monday, made his first major league start in Blum's place.
  • Berkman has 307 career homers, sixth all-time among switch hitters.
 
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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Roy Oswalt can't bear to watch, giving up six runs and 10 hits in two innings.  (AP)
Roy Oswalt can't bear to watch, giving up six runs and 10 hits in two innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

L. Berkman
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Atlanta

B. McCann
AB 5
R 2
H 4
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Atlanta Braves
Nate McLouth, CF4221200 .263
Yunel Escobar, SS5330102 .304
Chipper Jones, 3B4211123 .268
Brian McCann, C5242000 .277
Garret Anderson, LF4023011 .280
    Reid Gorecki, LF0000000 .227
Adam LaRoche, 1B5011033 .269
Ryan Church, RF2010012 .277
   a- Matt Diaz, PH-RF3001000 .321
Kelly Johnson, 2B4020112 .219
Derek Lowe, P3000025 .188
    Eric O'Flaherty, P1000010 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   b- Brooks Conrad, PH1000001 .282
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
Totals419169511  
a-hit into fielder's choice for Church in the 4th
b-flied out for Moylan in the 9th
Batting
2B - Yunel Escobar (23, Oswalt), Brian McCann (32, Oswalt), Kelly Johnson (18, Wright)
HR - Nate McLouth (18, Oswalt)
SF - Garret Anderson (7)
RBI - Nate McLouth (60), Chipper Jones (64), Brian McCann 2 (77), Garret Anderson 3 (54), Adam LaRoche (65), Matt Diaz (46)
2-OUT RBI - Brian McCann (41)
SB - Yunel Escobar (4, 2nd base off Lopez/Coste)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Lowe-Escobar-LaRoche, Jones-Johnson-LaRoche, Escobar-Johnson-LaRoche
E - Chipper Jones 2 (20, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
Derek Lowe (W,14-9) 5.2955251 4.47
Eric O'Flaherty 1000110 3.21
Peter Moylan 1.1321000 3.03
Mike Gonzalez (S,10) 1100110 2.42
Pitches-Strikes - Derek Lowe 101-63, Eric O'Flaherty 18-11, Peter Moylan 23-17, Mike Gonzalez 22-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Lowe 7-3, Eric O'Flaherty 2-0, Peter Moylan 4-0, Mike Gonzalez 1-0
Batters Faced - Derek Lowe 26, Eric O'Flaherty 4, Peter Moylan 7, Mike Gonzalez 4
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF5121001 .295
Kazuo Matsui, 2B4220122 .246
Lance Berkman, 1B4123111 .273
Carlos Lee, LF3011201 .306
    Edwin Maysonet, PR0000000 .290
Miguel Tejada, SS5000003 .300
Hunter Pence, RF4230010 .290
Chris Johnson, 3B4110012 .167
Chris Coste, C4010010 .229
Roy Oswalt, P0000000 .128
    Billy Sadler, P1000000 .000
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .333
   a- Aaron Boone, PH1000000 .000
    Wilton Lopez, P0000000 .000
   b- Darin Erstad, PH1000011 .203
    Sammy Gervacio, P0000000 .000
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .000
   c- Jason Michaels, PH1011000 .238
    Doug Brocail, P0000000 .000
Totals37713647  
a-grounded out for Wright in the 4th
b-struck out for Lopez in the 6th
c-singled for Byrdak in the 8th
Batting
HR - Lance Berkman (19, Lowe)
RBI - Michael Bourn (34), Lance Berkman 3 (69), Carlos Lee (89), Jason Michaels (16)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Bourn (16), Jason Michaels (7)
SB - Michael Bourn (53, 2nd base off Lowe/McCann), Kazuo Matsui 2 (16, 2nd base off Lowe/McCann, 2nd base off O'Flaherty/McCann)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Tejada-Berkman
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt (L,8-6) 21066151 4.03
Billy Sadler 1.1222120 13.50
Wesley Wright 0.2100000 5.50
Wilton Lopez 2111110 10.50
Sammy Gervacio 1100110 0.79
Tim Byrdak 1000020 2.75
Doug Brocail 1100100 3.97
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 71-46, Billy Sadler 25-15, Wesley Wright 8-6, Wilton Lopez 27-17, Sammy Gervacio 14-8, Tim Byrdak 12-10, Doug Brocail 15-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Billy Sadler 1-1, Wesley Wright 1-1, Wilton Lopez 4-1, Sammy Gervacio 1-0, Tim Byrdak 1-0, Doug Brocail 2-1
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 17, Billy Sadler 7, Wesley Wright 3, Wilton Lopez 8, Sammy Gervacio 4, Tim Byrdak 3, Doug Brocail 5
Game Information
Attendance - 26552
Game Time - 3:11
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Todd Tichenor, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Paul Emmel