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Pence helps Astros down Braves

Jun 14, 2011 - 4:46 AM Houston, TX (Sports Network) - A rested Hunter Pence brought life to a listless Astros lineup, going 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI as Houston avoided getting swept by the Braves behind an 8-3 victory in the finale of a four-game series.

Pence, fresh from sitting out on Sunday due to tightness in his back, extended his career-best hitting streak to 23 games while contributing to the Astros' 14-hit attack.

Brett Wallace reached base four times on two doubles and two walks while scoring twice and knocking in a run for Houston, which won for just the second time in 10 games.

Wandy Rodriguez (4-3) halted Atlanta's winning streak at six with six shutout innings in his return from the disabled list.

"He changed speeds and got out of some jams. He did a nice job," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the opposing starter.

Derek Lowe (3-5) remained winless over his last seven starts after yielding five runs on eight hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.

Jordan Schafer's three-run homer off Brandon Lyon in the ninth provided all of the Braves' offense. It was their only hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Pence got Houston on the board in the third as he tomahawked a high cutter into the right-field seats for a 2-0 lead. Clint Barmes reached on a two-out single prior to Pence's ninth home run of the year.

The Astros, who scored four runs or fewer in each of their previous nine games, added five in the sixth to take control.

Jeff Keppinger started the inning with a single and raced around on Wallace's double high off the wall in left-center. Wallace scored on Matt Downs' pinch- hit double off Scott Linebrink, and Barmes chased home another run with a sacrifice fly to center.

Pence capped the inning with a sharp grounder that got past shortstop Brandon Hicks, plating Downs and Michael Bourn for a 7-0 cushion.

"He's having an All-Star year. He's doing some special things out there," Wallace said of Pence. "He's the guy that gets us going a lot of times."

Wallace trotted home on J.R. Towles' sac fly in the seventh for Houston's final run.

Game Notes

Pence's hit streak is the longest by an Astros player since Willy Taveras' club-record 30-game stretch in 2006...Rodriguez missed three starts due to fluid in his left elbow. In his return, he gave up two hits and four walks while posting five strikeouts....Schafer's home run was his first since April 8, 2009...The Braves had won seven in a row against the Astros dating back to last year and were looking to sweep the six-game season series. They have not swept a four-game series in Houston since July 16-19, 1992.

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    Braves 3, Astros 8  FinalJun 16 1:09 PM

  • ATLANTA: 3
    HOUSTON: 8

    Jun 13 10:46 PM

  • Jordan Schafer two-out, three-run Home Run (1) to right center scored Matt Young and Eric Hinske. Dan Uggla due up.

    Braves 3, Astros 8  Top 9, 2 OutsJun 13 10:45 PM

  • J.R. Towles sacrifice fly to left scored Brett Wallace with one out. Runner on first and Wilton Lopez due up.

    Braves 0, Astros 8  Bot 7, 1 OutJun 13 10:16 PM

  • Hunter Pence single to left scored Matt Downs and Michael Bourn with two outs. Runner on first and Carlos Lee due up.

    Braves 0, Astros 7  Bot 6, 2 OutsJun 13 9:59 PM

  • Clint Barmes sacrifice fly to center scored J.R. Towles with two outs. On the play, Michael Bourn advances to second and Matt Downs advances to third. Runners on second and third and and Hunter Pence due up.

    Braves 0, Astros 5  Bot 6, 2 OutsJun 13 9:58 PM

  • Michael Bourn walked. Bases loaded with one out and Clint Barmes due up.

    Braves 0, Astros 4  Bot 6, 1 OutJun 13 9:56 PM

  • Brett Wallace double to left center scored Jeff Keppinger with none out. Runner on second and Chris Johnson due up.

    Braves 0, Astros 3  Bot 6, 0 OutsJun 13 9:47 PM
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    Braves 0, Astros 2  Top 5, 1 OutJun 13 9:20 PM

  • Hunter Pence two-out, two-run Home Run (9) to right center scored Clint Barmes. Carlos Lee due up.

    Braves 0, Astros 2  Bot 3, 2 OutsJun 13 8:59 PM
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    Braves 0, Astros 0  Bot 3, 2 OutsJun 13 8:57 PM

  • ATLANTA: 0
    HOUSTON: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Jun 13 8:07 PM
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    Braves vs. AstrosMay 18 6:01 AM