Alex Wood was tremendous in his return to the Braves rotation, and Atlanta blanked the Houston Astros 4-0 on Wednesday in the middle installment of a three-game set from Minute Maid Park.
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.
Justin Upton homered and drove in three runs for the Braves, who improved to 4-2 on their 11-game road trip.
The slumping Astros got seven strong innings 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.
Evan Gattis doubled down the left field line to open the second inning and scored two batters later on Justin Upton's sac fly to right.
Houston's best chance came in the sixth inning. Dexter Fowler walked with one out, Jose Altuve replaced him on first base after a fielder's choice and George Springer smacked a single up the middle to put runners on the corners. Wood got out of trouble, however, striking out Jon Singleton swinging.
Atlanta capitalized in the next half inning. McHugh plunked Jason Heyward with one away before serving up Justin Upton's second homer in as many games, a two-run shot to center to make it 3-0.
B.J. Upton doubled and scored in the top of the eighth, pushing an insurance run across for Atlanta's bullpen. The older Upton brother smacked a two-bagger to right, moved to third on a balk by Darin Downs and scored when Tommy La Stella grounded out to first.
Shae Simmons and Juan Jaime each struck out two in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to secure the shutout.