video thumbnail

ATL@HOU: Wood lets up three hits over seven scoreless

Alex Wood made a triumphant return to the Braves' rotation Tuesday, tossing seven scoreless innings against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Wood gave up only three hits and has surrendered two earned runs or fewer in seven of his eight starts.

Atlanta optioned Wood to Triple-A Gwinnett on June 10 to stretch him out for a return to the rotation for Saturday's doubleheader against the Phillies. The Braves moved Wood to the bullpen in May to help limit his innings.

"I watched every [Atlanta] game when I was [with Gwinnett]," Wood said following his gem. "It's something I really enjoy and don't take for granted at all, being a part of this clubhouse."

When Gavin Floyd suffered a season-ending fracture in his right elbow June 19, Atlanta brought Wood back earlier than expected. The Braves would like to limit the southpaw to 170 innings in his first full Major League season.

But if Wood keeps pitching like the hurler who has posted a 2.60 ERA in his eight starts this season, Atlanta might be hard-pressed to shut him down. After all, his success has helped soften the blow of losing Floyd, who had a 2.65 ERA in nine starts.

"Gavin was pitching well for us," Braves left fielder Justin Upton said Wednesday. "To not miss a beat with Alex coming back was definitely a luxury. It was definitely a luxury to have him waiting in the wings, waiting to come back and pitch for us."

Meanwhile, Mets hurler Zack Wheeler, a Smyrna, Ga., native who is 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA in five career starts against the Braves, could use another start like his shutout against the Marlins on June 19.

That gem in Miami has been the lone bright spot in a four-start slump that has seen Wheeler compile a 6.41 ERA in 19 2/3 innings since June 8. He endured a season-worst outing against the A's on Wednesday, giving up six runs in only two innings.

Wheeler, naturally, was upset to resume his struggles after his season-best outing.

"I did so well last time and I know I have it," Wheeler said Wednesday, "I don't even know what to say, to be honest. It was a bad outing. I really didn't give us a chance to win out of the chute."

Mets: Murphy keeps on hitting
• Second baseman Daniel Murphy notched his 100th hit Sunday, pulling him into a first-place tie with Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy for the most hits in the National League this season.

Murphy did not reach the century mark in hits last season until July 12, accomplishing the feat with a single in his 391st plate appearance. He reached 100 hits two weeks and 26 plate appearances sooner in 2014.

He has also been more effective in the batter's box this year. He has 11 more walks (28 to 17) and eight fewer strikeouts (42 to 50) through 366 plate appearances than he did in 2013.

Braves: B.J. showing strides in leadoff spot
• B.J. Upton has a six-game hitting streak since manager Fredi Gonzalez moved him to the leadoff spot Tuesday, giving Atlanta hope that this is the move that will finally get its center fielder going.

Upton's two-run triple was the difference in Sunday's 3-2 victory against the Phillies. Although he has yet to walk and is only batting .231 (6-for-26) in six games since moving to the No. 1 spot, it's hard to argue with the results.

The Braves are 5-1 with Upton atop the order, and he has either scored or driven in a run in all but one of those contests.

Worth noting
• The Mets notched their 3,996th win Saturday. Of that total, 325 victories have come in 718 games against the Braves.

• Mets third baseman David Wright will be re-examined by doctors Monday after an MRI Saturday revealed he had a bruised left rotator cuff.

• Braves right fielder Jason Heyward has reached base safely via hit or walk in 44 of his last 48 games, dating back to May 9. Comments