After being swept by the Mets to begin the 2012 season, the Atlanta Braves got back on track in Houston, winning two out of three games against the Astros. They may have let Monday's game get away from them with poor defense, but this does look like the club we expected to see all along.
Facing a meager lineup, Brandon Beachy struggled to put hitters away despite typically getting ahead in the count. His evening was undone by four errors committed in the field, two of which led to a disastrous third inning that would prove to be the difference in a 8-3 defeat.
Tuesday signified the return of Chipper Jones to the diamond, and his impact was felt immediately in both games he played in Houston. The soon-to-be 40-year-old third baseman went 4-for-9 in the series, belting out a huge two-run homer in the second game. Tommy Hanson, like Beachy, struggled to put hitters away early and wound it leaving earlier than expected due to a high pitch count, but he still managed to come away with the victory as Atlanta won 6-4.
Randall Delgado took the mound with hopes to claim a series victory and was opposed by Wandy Rodriguez, a pitcher who had historically given the Braves problems at the plate. He allowed five hits and two walks in his five innings of work, but allowed just two runs to score and struck out six. Jason Heyward had a monster game with three hits (including his first home run of the season) and Craig Kimbrel struck out the side to preserve a 6-3 victory.
It was a bit unnerving to see the Braves struggle as much as they did in New York, but the series in Houston was a much-needed confidence restorer for the club. They now will have an off-day on Thursday before resuming play against the Brewers at Turner Field for the home opener.