Published November 20, 2014
Hot-hitting rookie Chris Johnson drove in three runs, including two in Houston's six-run seventh inning, and the Astros took advantage of sloppy play by the Atlanta Braves in a 10-4 win on Monday night.
Atlanta committed three errors and had a wild pitch to help the Astros snap a four-game losing streak.
Jason Heyward, who turned 21 on Monday, hit his 12th home run of the season to the bullpen in right center field. He became the fourth player to homer on his 21st birthday, joining Ted Williams (1939), Frank Robinson (1956) and Alex Rodriguez (1996) according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Jeff Keppinger's RBI-single scored pinch runner Jason Bourgeois in the seventh inning and gave Houston a 5-4 lead. That score was helped by an error by pitcher Kyle Farnsworth (3-1) on a bad pickoff attempt that allowed Bourgeois to take second.
A wild pitch by Farnsworth advanced Keppinger to second and Angel Sanchez to third before he intentionally walked Hunter Pence to load the bases.
Farnsworth was replaced by Peter Moylan, who allowed an RBI single to Carlos Lee that stretched the lead to 6-4.
The Astros added two runs on a single to left field by Johnson, who is hitting .356, before clearing the bases on an error by Brian McCann on the same play. His throw to third base was high and late and rolled into the corner of left field, allowing Lee and Johnson to score.
Houston's Tim Byrdak (2-1) got one out to earn the win.
Atlanta left-hander Mike Minor allowed five hits and three earned runs in six innings in his major league debut. The 22-year-old, who was the seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft, was starting in place of Kris Medlen, who is on the disabled list with a right elbow injury.
Houston tied it at 4-all in the sixth inning on an error by Alex Gonzalez when he couldn't handle a grounder by Johnson, allowing Pence to score. Pence walked before stealing second base and advancing to third on a groundout by Lee.
McCann belted a two-run homer in the sixth inning to put Atlanta back on top, 4-3. Chipper Jones doubled down the right field line before McCann's 16th home run of the season.
Minor allowed a leadoff single to Michael Bourn in the first inning before retiring nine of the next 10 batters. Keppinger doubled in the fourth inning before Lee's one-out ground rule double got Houston within 3-1. Lee's hit down the right field line landed just in front of three Braves and bounced into the stands.
Johnson's single to shallow center field sent Lee home and left the score at 3-2.
Rookie Brett Wallace followed with a double that landed in the corner of right field and put Houston on top 3-2. Minor struck out Jason Castro and Astros starter Bud Norris to end the inning.
Heyward's homer had given Atlanta a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
Norris yielded seven hits and four runs in 6 2-3 innings.
NOTES: The Astros are hoping that RHP Brian Moehler can recover from a tear in his groin without surgery. Manager Brad Mills said they are looking to begin a rehabilitation plan to get him healthy and avoid surgery and said they would probably know more about the plan on Tuesday. ... Houston Astros optioned left-hander Wesley Wright to Triple-A Round Rock and recalled newly acquired reliever Mark Melancon on Monday. The Astros got Melancon in the deal that sent Lance Berkman to the New York Yankees. ... Atlanta's Omar Infante singled in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to a career-high-tying 12 games.