Atlanta Braves (40-37) at Houston Astros (33-46), 2:10 p.m. (ET)

 

The Sports Network

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Braves shoot for a series sweep Thursday when they wrap up a three-game set against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

On Wednesday, Alex Wood was tremendous in his return to the Braves rotation, and Atlanta blanked Houston, 4-0. Justin Upton homered and drove in three runs for the Braves, who improved to 4-2 on their 11-game road trip.

Wood (6-6) made seven starts for Atlanta early this season before moving to the bullpen, where he made 11 appearances. He was sent down to the minors in early June and made two starts, allowing a run in 8 2/3 innings with Triple-A Gwinnett.

The 23-year-old lefty dazzled in his first major league start since May 4, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out four. He has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his eight starts this season.

"I felt good," said Wood. "Felt good to get back out there and get back out on the mound on these guys. ... Fortunately I was able to go as deep as I could."

The win may have come at a cost for the Braves, as first baseman Freddie Freeman left the game in the eighth inning after getting hit in the elbow by a pitch.

Following the win, though, Freeman said he expected to be in the lineup on Thursday.

"The doctors have already seen me and everything is good," Freeman said. "Hopefully, it's not too swollen and too sore (Thursday) to go. I'm going to try everything I can to play."

The slumping Astros got seven strong innings on Wednesday out of Collin McHugh (4-6), who was touched for three runs on three hits and fanned nine. Houston's offense is mired in its worst stretch of the season, mustering just five runs in its last six games and dropping eight of nine overall.

Meanwhile, getting the call for the Braves on Thursday will be lefty Mike Minor, who is 2-4 with a 4.20 ERA. Minor did not get a decision on Friday in Washington, but had one of his better outings of the season, as he surrendered two runs and struck out 11 in seven innings in his team's 6-4 loss.

"I think that was one of my best (starts) feeling-wise in terms of mechanics," Minor said.

Houston will counter with its hottest starting in 24-year-old righty Jarred Cosart, who has won his last three starts. Cosart was marvelous on Friday against Tampa Bay, as he got the best of David Price and scattered six hits over eight scoreless innings to run his record to 7-5, while lowering his ERA to 3.78.

This is the only series between the Braves and Astros this season. Atlanta went 4-2 in this series back in 2012.

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