After a big day at the plate, the Atlanta Braves’ potent lineup is about to get even better.
Just before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline, the Braves (56-51) finalized a deal that sent rookie catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and four minor leaguers to Texas for Teixeira and left-handed reliever Ron Mahay. Teixeira, who averaged 35 homers in his first four seasons with the Rangers and has 13 this year, arrived at Turner Field in the middle of Tuesday’s game and was available to pinch hit, but didn’t play in the 12-4 Atlanta win.
He sat on the bench in his new uniform, however, and got a big ovation from the fans at Turner Field. Teixeira said he was told by Atlanta manager Bobby Cox that he would hit fourth Wednesday.
“It was kind of a buzz in here,” said second baseman Kelly Johnson, who had four hits and two homers Tuesday. “You could feel it out there, too. It was a little bit of extra adrenalin. We’re all excited.”
“Yes, we’ve got the team to win the World Series,” said catcher Brian McCann, who homered and drove in four runs in the blowout victory.
The Braves won their second straight and moved to within 3 1/2 games of the NL East-leading New York Mets, who lost in extra innings in Milwaukee on Tuesday. Atlanta, which had 15 hits, has scored 26 runs over its last two games.
“The boys took care of business,” Teixeira said.
The Astros (46-60), who lost for the third time in four games, remained relatively quiet at the deadline. They traded third baseman Morgan Ensberg - who they had designated for assignment Sunday - to San Diego for cash or a player to be named, but held on to infielders Mike Lamb and Mark Loretta, who can become free agents after the season.
On Wednesday, Houston will hand the ball to Wandy Rodriguez (7-9, 4.28 ERA), who has struggled to a 1-7 mark with a 7.43 ERA in 10 road starts. He has lost each of his last three starts away from home, posting an 11.48 ERA in 13 1-3 innings in those outings, and is 0-4 in five road starts since a victory in Colorado on June 5.
Rodriguez, however, is coming off a strong home start in which he allowed one run in seven innings of a 7-1 victory over San Diego.
“I don’t know,” Rodriguez said of the disparity between his home and road numbers. “I also feel good when I pitch on the road.”
Rodriguez made his only previous start against the Braves on June 11 last season, allowing four runs in six innings of a 14-4 home win. He also pitched two-thirds of an inning of relief without allowing a run in Houston’s 3-1 loss at Atlanta on Oct. 1.
Atlanta will counter with Buddy Carlyle (5-3, 4.25), who’s coming off his first loss in six starts, 4-2 at San Francisco on Thursday. After allowing just eight runs while going 4-0 over his previous four starts, he was charged with four in 5 2-3 innings against the Giants.
Carlyle has never faced the Astros.