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Braves’ Garcia hopes to slow Astros (Jul 05, 2017)

ATLANTA — Braves left-hander Jaime Garcia will take his turn trying to stop Houston’s powerful offense on Wednesday, while the Astros hope that young right-hander Joe Musgrove can regain the form that allowed him to open the season in the team’s rotation.

Garcia (2-6, 4.35 ERA) opposes Musgrove (4-7, 6.01 ERA) in the final game of the two-game interleague series at SunTrust Park.

Houston won 16-4 on Tuesday and can sweep the four-game season series against the Braves with a win.

The Astros have scored a major-league-best 480 runs and are averaging 8.6 runs in their past six games. They hit seven doubles on Tuesday, the second consecutive game they reached that total, and they collected a double for a franchise-record 41st game in a row.

“That’s a tough lineup,” Atlanta third baseman Freddie Freeman said. “They’ve got good right-hand hitters, so it’s tough to get through 1-9 against them.”

Garcia will make his 16th start of the season. The southpaw has struggled over his past three outings, allowing six runs in each appearance while posting a 10.13 ERA. He was 0-3 with a 6.75 in five starts during June.

Garcia faced the Astros on May 10 and lost 4-2. He allowed four runs in six innings in that game, and he has a career mark of 3-7 with a 6.36 ERA in 12 starts against Houston.

Musgrove will be recalled from Triple-A Fresno to start Wednesday. He was optioned to the minors on June 24 and made one appearance for Fresno, allowing one hit over seven scoreless innings.

Musgrove began the season in Houston’s rotation and made 13 starts. He was the Astros’ starter opposite Garcia on May 10, and he allowed two runs over six innings.

“When we sent him down, we considered bringing him back up for this series, either as starter or reliever for the rest of the first half,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “As it turned out, we needed a starter. Easy decision to get him back.

“Mentally, I think he got a break and got a chance to have a good game and walk away from a start feeling pretty good about himself. He was one of our best five at the start of the season, so I can easily see him bouncing back.”

Atlanta got some good news on Tuesday when the club moved utility man Sean Rodriguez’s rehab assignment from the rookie-level Gulf Coast League to Class A Rome. He went 0-for-4 in his first game for Rome after he was a combined 1-for-5 in two GCL games.

Rodriguez, signed as a free agent in January, was injured in a car accident on Jan. 28 and required surgery to repair his left rotator cuff. The Braves hope he will be ready to rejoin the major league roster at the end of the month.

“You trust the players in these situations,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “They know what’s going on. They’ve played. He may come to us in a couple of weeks and say, ‘I’m ready to go.’ At that point, we’ll reassess. He may need the full rehab schedule they have planned for him. He’s different because he hasn’t had anything. He’s in the first week of spring training right now.”

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