Braves 12, Astros 4
Kelly Johnson had four hits, including two homers, and Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann also hit home runs to help the Braves welcome Teixeira back to town with a 12-4 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
“It was kind of a buzz in here,” Johnson said of the anticipation in the clubhouse for Teixeira’s arrival. “You could feel it out there, too. It was a little bit of extra adrenalin. We’re all excited.”
Johnson drove in five runs and McCann drove in four, including a two-run double in the 8th. The Braves had 15 hits.
Teixeira, who starred in college at Georgia Tech, was obtained from Texas in a seven-player trade that was finalized earlier in the day, was activated for the game but did not arrive until the seventh inning.
Grinning widely, Teixeira waved to fans from the dugout as he enjoyed his first ovation from Atlanta fans. The Turner Field video board showed Teixeira wearing his new No. 24 uniform.
Teixeira took batting practice in the team’s indoor cage in case he was needed as a pinch-hitter.
“When I got here it was 5-4,” Teixeira said, adding he told Braves manager Bobby Cox he would be ready to hit. Instead, the Braves scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh.
“The boys took care of business,” Teixeira said.
Cox said he would have used Teixeira “if it meant something.”
Teixeira, who averaged 35 homers in his first four seasons in Texas and has 13 this year, is expected to start Wednesday night and said he was told by Cox he will hit fourth.
Johnson enjoyed his biggest game of the season while hitting seventh, one spot ahead of first baseman Julio Franco. The addition of Teixeira could make Johnson a No. 8 hitter on Wednesday.
“We joke around about it,” Johnson said. “It’s a good lineup one through eight. It really won’t matter where you’re hitting.”
The Braves took a 5-1 lead with nine hits in four innings off Houston starter Chris Sampson (7-8).
The Astros rallied with three runs in the fifth. Eric Bruntlett, who walked against Braves starter Chuck James, scored following singles by Eric Munson and pinch-hitter Chris Burke. Craig Biggio’s two-run double to right-center cut Atlanta’s lead to 5-4.
James (9-8) won despite giving up more than two runs for the first time in six starts. James gave up six hits and four runs in five innings.
Lance Berkman hit a first-inning homer off James.
Atlanta took a 2-1 lead in the second on McCann’s homer and a sacrifice fly by Julio Franco. Edgar Renteria, who had three hits, reached in the third on a single and scored on Andruw Jones’ sacrifice fly for a 3-1 lead.
Johnson, who has been sharing time with rookie Yunel Escobar at second base, padded the lead with his two-run homer in the fourth. Johnson’s three-run homer off Matt Albers capped the Braves’ four-run seventh.
Johnson’s only negative for the night was a fielding error on Munson’s grounder in the sixth. The miscue almost allowed Bruntlett to score from first. Francoeur’s throw from right skipped past Renteria, but third baseman Chipper Jones backed up Renteria and threw out Bruntlett at the plate to end the inning.
Bruntlett made three errors at short for Houston. The final one led to two unearned runs in the eighth.
“We stunk,” said Houston manager Phil Garner.
Said Bruntlett: “It was one of those times when you want to find a hole and hide in it, but there weren’t any holes out there.” ^Notes: Johnson had four hits and hit two homers for the second time in his career. He also hit two homers on April 22 at New York. The five RBIs are not his career high; he drove in six on June 17, 2005 at Cincinnati. … Houston 3B Ty Wigginton had his second two-hit game in his second start since coming to the Astros in a trade with Tampa Bay. He stole second base in the second inning, matching his total for steals in 98 games with the Devil Rays. … Johnson, a converted outfielder, committed his ninth error in his 100th game.