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Braves cruise to victory over Astros


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at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

March 6, 2009

Astros at the plate: Jason Smith's fifth-inning single accounted for Houston's first hit. Reggie Abercrombie added a single in the sixth inning.

Braves at the plate: Matt Diaz, who was inserted into the lineup after Garret Anderson strained his right calf muscle, began his three-hit night with a two-run homer off Fernando Nieve in the first inning and capped it with a two-run single during his team's seven-run fourth, which also included a three-run single by Martin Prado.

Astros on the mound: Nieve limited the first-inning damage to Diaz's homer, then got in trouble by beginning the second inning by walking Jeff Francoeur and allowing singles to Prado and Clint Sammons. Bud Norris, who entered the game having not allowed a run in three innings, was charged with two earned runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Braves on the mound: Jo-Jo Reyes issued a pair of walks during a 24-pitch first inning, then settled down while keeping the Astros scoreless and hitless over four innings. Reyes has allowed just one run in his first nine innings this year.

Up next: The Braves will travel to Tampa on Saturday to face the Yankees. Jair Jurrjens, who has been battling control problems, is scheduled to start. Buddy Carlyle and Blaine Boyer are slated to work in relief.

The Astros will send Mike Hampton to the mound when they host the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. Jose Valverde is scheduled to pitch an inning of relief.

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