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Braves-Astros Preview

AP - Sports

When Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy were lost for the season during spring training, the Atlanta Braves had to scramble to fill their rotation.

After losing another starter to a season-ending injury, the Braves have called upon Alex Wood to step in and fill another hole in the staff as they continue this road set with the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

Medlen and Beachy became part of an extensive list of major league pitchers to have Tommy John surgery, forcing Wood and Aaron Harang to fill the gaps at the start of the season.

Harang has been successful and had another solid outing in Tuesday's 3-2 victory in the series opener with the Astros, but Wood (5-6, 3.43 ERA) hasn't made a start in the majors since May 4.

Wood went 2-5 with a 3.00 ERA in seven starts, then came out of the bullpen for 11 outings before being sent down to the minors June 10 to get more starts.

The left-hander gave up one run in 8 2-3 innings over two starts for Triple-A Gwinnett before being recalled to take the rotation spot of Gavin Floyd, who broke his elbow in Thursday's win over Washington and will require surgery.

Wood has never faced the Astros (33-45), who have lost seven of eight and have totaled seven runs over their last five. They've been struggling offensively despite Jose Altuve leading the AL in batting average at .337.

Altuve had two hits in the opener and is 15 for 29 during a seven-game hitting streak. The rest of the lineup had six hits and struck out 10 times Tuesday, though rookie George Springer hit his team-best 14th homer.

''We got guys on, but at the end of the day, you have to find a way to drive them in," said manager Bo Porter, whose club went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. "That was the difference in the ball game.''

Houston hopes it won't need many runs in this contest with Collin McHugh taking the mound looking to extend his solid run.

Though his control has been spotty, McHugh (4-5, 2.76) has gone 2-2 with a 1.98 ERA over his last five starts after giving up two unearned runs in six innings of Thursday's 5-0 loss to Tampa Bay on his 27th birthday.

The right-hander walked three and has issued 11 bases on balls in 15 1-3 innings over his last three outings, though he's also struck out six in each.

McHugh will be looking to improve on his 4.18 ERA in five home starts, which is a stark contrast to his 1.69 mark in six road outings. He may want to be wary of B.J. and Justin Upton in his first career start against the Braves (39-37) after the brothers tied a major league record by homering in the same game for the fourth time.

B.J. Upton, who has homered in four straight games against the Astros dating back to 2011, hit a solo shot in the third before his younger sibling homered in the fourth. They went a combined 2 for 27 in a four-game series split with Washington over the weekend.

Justin Upton is hitting .394 with three homers in his last eight against Houston.

''Both of those guys are so talented,'' manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "They're game-changers and hopefully we'll continue to get more of those.''

The Braves have won eight of the last 10 road meetings with the Astros.

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