Backe solid, but Astros fall to Braves

Backe solid, but Astros fall to Braves

at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Sunday, March 2

Braves at the plate: Jeff Francoeur doubled to begin the fourth inning and scored on a single by Matt Diaz, who added a sacrifice fly in a two-run fifth. Yunel Escobar's two-run, third-inning double gave the Braves an early lead.

Astros at the plate: Jose Cruz Jr. began his two-hit day with a second-inning, line-drive single and capped it with a fourth-inning double. Ty Wigginton provided a game-tying RBI single in the sixth.

Braves on the mound: Making his first start against a Major League team since 2005, Mike Hampton limited the Astros to one hit in two scoreless innings. Chris Resop, who is bidding for a job in the bullpen, allowed two earned runs and three hits in two innings.

Astros on the mound: Unaffected by the bone bruise he suffered on his right foot on Feb. 23, Brandon Backe issued just one walk in two scoreless innings. Chris Sampson, who is bidding for a rotation spot, allowed three earned runs and six hits in two innings.

Grapefruit League records: Astros 1-4, Braves 3-1.

Up next: The Astros will send Wandy Rodriguez to the mound in Kissimmee, Fla., on Monday at 12:05 p.m. CT when they host the Yankees, who will start Mike Mussina. The Braves will travel to Port St. Lucie, Fla., to face the Mets on Monday at 12:05 p.m. Jo-Jo Reyes will start for Atlanta and Mike Pelfrey is scheduled to start for New York.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.