03/05/12 4:30 PM ET
Key Braves show signs of life at plate
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
The Braves scored four times in the seventh inning to take an 8-5 lead, with Jose Constanza and Christian Bethancourt picking up RBIs in the inning. All the runs were charged to Astros reliever Rhiner Cruz, a Rule 5 Draft pick who didn't retire any of the five batters he faced.
Jair Jurrjens, the likely Opening Day starter for the Braves, allowed three hits, two runs and one walk in two innings. Michael Bourn, playing against his former team for the first time, had a triple for the Braves in the fourth.
Jordan Lyles started for the Astros and allowed four hits and two runs in two innings, giving up a two-run single to Jason Heyward in the first inning. Lyles, 21, threw 27 pitches in the first in his first outing of the Grapefruit League season.
"I wasn't expecting too much with this first outing," Lyles said. "Today, my command wasn't there, but that's to be expected the first time you're facing live hitters."
Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie, acquired in an offseason trade with the Red Sox, went 2-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI. J.D. Martinez had a hit, a run and an RBI for Houston, giving him five RBIs for the spring season.
Up next: The Braves will feature their top three relievers on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. ET against the Nationals at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as closer Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty are all scheduled to pitch in relief of Kris Medlen, who is scheduled to make his first start. The Atlanta offense will get a look at Washington's Gio Gonzalez, who was acquired from the A's in December.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.