HOUSTON - APRIL 11: Centerfielder Jordan Schafer #1 (L) and right fielder Justin Maxwell #22 collide going for a sinking fly ball by Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves at Minute Maid Park on April 11, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The Houston Astros bookended their first homestand of the season with terrible defensive games, kicking their way to a 6-3 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.
Houston committed four errors on Wednesday, identical to the four errors it committed in Friday’s season opener with Colorado. The Astros had not committed an error since that game.
"The guys are playing their heart and it gets in the way sometimes," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "I think that has a little bit to do with some of those errors. As we move forward, I can see that getting better. That fourth inning, (Wandy) really got frustrated with himself. He let that double to Ross get to him. That kind of affected everything going forward. (Wandy) was just really upset with himself, that he didn’t make a solid 0-2 pitch. He let the inning kind of deteriorate a bit after that."
The Braves benefitted early and often from Houston’s defensive gaffes. In the fourth inning, Chipper Jones led off with a single followed by the next four batters all reaching safely. The inning’s biggest hit came when catcher David Ross hit a double with the bases loaded and no outs.
The second batter reached base on an error by Marwin Gonzalez, allowing Dan Uggla to put runners on first and second. Two batters after Ross’ double, Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez couldn’t field a bunt back to the mound, allowing Delgado to reach safely.
The Braves added insurance runs later on a Jayson Heyward home run to right field and another error by right fielder Jason Maxwell. After Jones singled on a blooper in front of center fielder Jordan Schafer. Maxwell tried to pick the ball up, couldn’t and then his throw into the infield allowed Martin Prado to score all the way from first.
Houston’s J.D. Martinez hit his second home run of the season in the bottom of the first. He turned on a Randall Delgado fastball and hit it over 400 feet to center field. The hit extended Martinez’s hitting streak to six games.
That would also be the last bit of luck Houston seemingly found in the game. After that point, the Astros loaded the bases twice, but managed just one run on a walk by Carlos Lee.
Randall Delgado (1-0) picked up the victory for the Braves, throwing 5 innings while allowing five hits, two runs, two walks and striking out six. Delgado was making his first career start against the Astros. It was just his eighth career major league start after he debuted with Atlanta on June 17.
Rodriguez (0-1) also threw 5 innings, allowing six hits, four runs (three earned) and a walk with two strikeouts. The left-hander gave up his first earned run to the Braves since 2010 in the second inning. He had previously held the Braves scoreless in 14 innings over two starts last season.
Houston will be off on Thursday before traveling to Miami for a three-game set with the Marlins starting Friday.
NOTES: Houston won’t play the Braves again until a three-game series in Atlanta starting Aug. 3. Several Astro bloggers will be attending the series in Atlanta if you're interested in participating send an email to SBN.email@example.com
Jed Lowrie went 2 for 3 in what should be his final rehab start for Oklahoma City. The shortstop is due to be activated from the disabled list on Friday and, if all goes according to plan, should join the team in Miami. … It was the second straight game where Astros starters didn’t have quality start. The rotation opened the year with four straight quality starts.