HOUSTON (AP) — Freddie Freeman and Alex Gonzalez homered on back-to-back pitches during Atlanta’s four-run third inning and the Braves pounded the Houston Astros 11-4 on Friday night for their fourth consecutive victory.Freeman’s two-out, two-run shot off fellow rookie Aneury Rodriguez landed several rows up in the second deck in right field and gave Atlanta a 4-0 lead. Gonzalez sent the next pitch into the Crawford Boxes in left field.
Chipper Jones and Eric Hinske also homered for Atlanta, which tied its season high for runs. Freeman and Gonzalez combined for six RBIs.
Braves starter Tim Hudson (5-5) pitched six effective innings, yielding two runs and seven hits.
Matt Downs hit a two-run homer in the ninth for Houston, which has dropped six of seven. Michael Bourn had a triple and two doubles while tying a career high with four hits.
Rodriguez (0-4) lasted just four-plus innings and is winless in eight starts.
The Astros hurt themselves with poor defence in the third. First baseman Brett Wallace’s error on Chipper Jones’ two-out infield single allowed Dan Uggla to score.
Jones then picked up his first stolen base of the year before the homers by Freeman and Gonzalez.
Houston right fielder Hunter Pence singled in the third to extend his career-long hitting streak to 21 games — the longest current streak in the majors. But Pence left the game after the inning with tightness in his lower back and was replaced by Jason Michaels.
Freeman had an RBI single in the first, and Gonzalez had a two-run double in Atlanta’s four-run fifth. Jones also had an RBI single in the fifth.
Houston closer Brandon Lyon surrendered Jones’ homer in the eighth in his first appearance since May 4 after coming off the disabled list following Wednesday’s game.
Rodriguez gave up six runs and six hits. He struck out four and walked one.
NOTES: Houston purchased the contract of C Carlos Corporan from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned C Robinson Cancel to its top farm club. Corporan, who is scheduled to start on Saturday, had a pinch-hit single in the ninth. … Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said OF Nate McLouth, on the disabled list with a strained muscle on his left side, is scheduled to play in a simulated game on Saturday in Florida. He’ll face RHP Brandon Beachy, who has been on the DL since May 14 with the same injury. Beachy is scheduled to throw three innings. He will then throw four or five innings on Thursday and up to 100 pitches on June 21. … The Astros signed second-round draft pick RHP Adrian Houser.
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