Altuve's three hits help Astros top Braves

Altuve's three hits help Astros top Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jose Altuve recorded three hits and Colby Rasmus highlighted his own multihit performance with a three-run homer that propelled the Astros to an 8-5 win over the Braves on Tuesday night at Champion Stadium. A.J. Pierzynski went 2-for-5 with two RBIs for Atlanta.

Rasmus' shot in the sixth inning off Brandon Cunniff proved to be decisive for the Astros, who also benefited from Jed Lowrie's leadoff homer in the fourth against former Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez. 

Rodriguez allowed three runs on eight hits and notched eight strikeouts over five innings in his final audition for a spot in Atlanta's rotation.

Altuve and Jonathan Villar began the game with doubles and Luis Valbuena added an RBI single before Rodriguez recorded the game's first out. After benefiting from the home runs hit by Rasmus and Lowrie, the Astros produced some cushion courtesy of a pair of unearned runs against left-hander Luis Avilan in the eighth inning.

Astros starting pitcher Asher Wojciechowski had limited the Braves to a pair of singles before Freddie Freeman and Kelly Johnson began the fourth inning with consecutive doubles. Atlanta gained a brief lead with a four-run fifth inning. Two hit-by-pitches and an error by first baseman Jon Singleton on Nick Markakis' grounder helped prolong the inning long enough for Pierzynski to deliver a two-run single.

Wojciechowski finished having allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Up next for the Astros: The Astros close out their Grapefruit League slate when they face the Tigers at 12:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Osceola County Stadium. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who will start for the Astros when they open the regular season Monday in Houston against the Indians, will get his final spring tuneup.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.