|Slugger Mark Teixeira got off to a fast start in Atlanta, driving in four runs in his Braves debut. (BRANT SANDERLIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS)|
Brave new world
Teixeira homers in Atlanta debut
ATLANTA -- One game, one curtain call for Mark Teixeira.
Teixeira hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs in his Atlanta debut last night, leading the Braves to a 12-3 victory over the Houston Astros.
Teixeira, acquired from Texas in Tuesday's seven-player trade, drew a bases-loaded walk in the first inning to drive in a run in his first plate appearance.
After Houston reliever Matt Albers walked Edgar Renteria and Chipper Jones in the sixth inning, Teixeira hit a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left-center for his first homer with the Braves and his 14th overall.
Teixeira was greeted with high-fives from Jones and Renteria and slaps on his helmet in the dugout, but the fans were not satisfied until he bounced back up the dugout steps and lifted his helmet high in response to the cheers.
"I've had a few curtain calls in my career," Teixeira said. "The fans tell you. After the at-bat, if they're still cheering, they're still yelling, you know they want you to do it. It was fun going out there."
Braves manager Bobby Cox said he enjoyed watching the successful debut.
"The home run looked real good -- opposite-field line drive," Cox said. "He looked good at first, too."
Teixeira said he was aware he was being closely watched in his first game with the Braves.
"The win was definitely more important, but it was fun getting out there and getting the nerves out of the way," he said. "I didn't want to come here the first day and have a disappointment."
The Braves scored a combined 38 runs in three straight wins, including 24 in winning two straight over the Astros.
Buddy Carlyle (6-3) gave up five hits and two runs in five innings and left the game when he experienced apparent discomfort while warming up in the sixth. Carlyle, who appeared to wince in pain while swinging and missing a pitch in the bottom of the fifth, is listed as day to day and said he should be able to make his next start.
"It's something I've done in the past hitting," Carlyle said. "It's kind of silly, taking too big a swing at an offspeed pitch. It's going to be fine."
Houston has given up 42 runs in three straight losses.
"It's a little embarrassing, for the pitching staff and the catchers," Houston catcher Brad Ausmus said.
For the second straight night, Houston's starting pitcher lasted only four innings. One night after Chris Sampson gave up nine hits and five runs, Wandy Rodriguez (7-10) gave up eight runs and six hits. He walked four batters and threw 55 pitches in Atlanta's seven-run first inning.
Overall, Houston pitchers issued nine walks, including five by Rodriguez.
"I didn't want to hear that number," Astros manager Phil Garner said of the walks.