Francoeur homers in Braves’ 7-2 win in Houston
The rookie left-hander did it anyway, giving up two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings as the Braves beat Houston 7-2 on Friday night.
“I just wanted to go out and have fun,” Reyes said. “Of course, I wanted to go out with a bang. But you’ve just got to go pitch-by-pitch.”
The Braves were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to Philadelphia, so manager Bobby Cox is using the final three games to evaluate his young talent.
Cox liked what he saw from Reyes, who was making his 10th start since getting recalled from Triple-A Richmond on Aug. 21.
“We keep saying he’s close, he’s really close. He’s every bit of that,” Cox said.
Reyes made five starts for Atlanta between July 6 to Aug. 3 and took a loss and four no-decisions. He was determined to change his attitude when he got a second chance.
“I came back up and took a different approach—just have fun,” he said. “I was thinking too much the first time I was up here instead of just going out there, pitch by pitch.”
While Reyes’ career is just beginning, Biggio’s is winding to a close.
The Astros are guaranteed their second losing season since 1991, but Minute Maid Park was nearly full of fans getting their last glimpses of the beloved Biggio, who spent all 20 of his major-league seasons in Houston.
A banner in left field read “Thanks for All the Memories Craig!” and a black No. “7” was painted on the grass on Tal’s Hill in center field.
“I wish I could describe to you guys what this feels like, to be this appreciated for just going about your business,” he said. “It just makes you feel great because they really appreciate how you’ve gone about your business for a really long time.” It is really hard to describe what you are going through when all you see is a bunch of signs and kids and them all letting you know how you feel.”
The 41-year-old Biggio got a standing ovation every time he walked to the batter’s box. Before his first at-bat, he tipped his helmet to the fans, placed it over his heart for a moment, then singled to left on the first pitch, career hit No. 3,057.
Biggio finished 1-for-3 with a walk and has two games left.
“This is going to be great and I know the fans are really going to make it difficult on me Sunday—and I mean that in a good way,” he said. “I am disappointed that we lost and tomorrow is going to be real hard. Sunday, I am going to be a mess.”
Francoeur homered into the Astros’ bullpen in the fifth, after Chipper Jones beat out an infield hit. It was Francoeur’s 19th homer of the season and second in two nights.
Left-hander Stephen Randolph relieved Albers to start the sixth. Albers finished with a career-high eight strikeouts, but still lost his fifth straight decision.
Willie Harris, who struck out three times against Albers, drew a walk from Randolph and came home on Mark Teixeira’s double down the left-field line. Randolph intentionally walked Francoeur, but Brandon Jones doubled off the left-field scoreboard to make it 7-2.
It was Jones’ first major league hit after he was called up from the minors on Sept. 16.
“I tell you what, it feels good to get it out of the way,” he said. “I can stop thinking about it, stop pressing and just go out there and start playing again.”
Teixeira has had an RBI in 32 of 53 games with the Braves. He had his streak of games with a homer stopped at three. … Chipper Jones doubled in the first inning, his 75th extra-base hit. … The Astros wore uniforms from the 1989-93 seasons, with rainbow-patterns on the sleeves. … The Astros gave manager Cecil Cooper a two-year contract before the game. Cooper had been the interim manager since Aug. 27, when Phil Garner was fired.