ATLANTA - A dizzying day of trades Tuesday did not bring the Braves any starting pitching help. But before their game against the Houston Astros, right fielder Jeff Francoeur said that won't necessarily be a problem.
"Maybe we'll just go out and slug people now," Francoeur said.
It's not exactly a strategy, but it worked on Tuesday night. Atlanta pounded out 15 hits in a 12-4 victory over the Astros at Turner Field. And Mark Teixeira wasn't even in the starting lineup yet.
Kelly Johnson hit two home runs and had five RBIs, tying career highs in homers and hits (4-for-4). Brian McCann had four RBIs, including a home run. And Jeff Francoeur also homered, helping Atlanta overcome a mediocre outing by starter Chuck James.
James allowed four runs in five innings and was pulled after throwing just 82 pitches. But Braves hitters built a sufficient lead, and the bullpen protected it. Peter Moylan, Tyler Yates, Rafael Soriano and Jose Ascanio all pitched scoreless innings.
Fans who came to the ballpark to see Teixeira got only a brief glimpse of him. The first baseman acquired from the Texas Rangers just hours earlier flew to Atlanta and appeared in uniform in the dugout in the seventh inning.
When shown on the stadium jumbo screen, Teixeira received a loud ovation from the announced crowd of 32,315. He smiled as he sipped from a cup of water.
But Tuesday's victory was a byproduct of the talent the Braves already have, not the influx of help on the way.
After Houston scored three runs in the fifth to make it a 5-4 game, the Braves piled on a run in the sixth and four in the seventh to put the game comfortably in hand.
Francoeur hit a solo home run in the sixth. And in the seventh, McCann hit a sac fly RBI and Johnson hit a three-run shot to center field, his second homer of the game.
McCann added a two-run double in the eighth.
Lance Berkman put Houston up 1-0 with a solo home run in the first, but the Braves scored in each of the next three innings to open up a four-run lead.
In the second inning, McCann homered to right and Julio Franco hit a sac fly RBI. Franco has driven in runs in three of the Braves' last four games.
Andruw Jones drove in another run with a sac fly in the third, and Johnson belted a two-run homer in the fourth to put Atlanta up 5-1.
James was cruising along fine until the fifth, but that inning would be his last. He gave up a leadoff walk to Eric Bruntlett, and the Astros made him pay for it. Eric Munson singled. Chris Burke hit an RBI single to left. And Craig Biggio made it a one-run game with a two-run double to the gap in right center.
SideBar: Astros at Braves
' When: Today-Thursday
' Where: Turner Field
' Today, 7:35 p.m. (FSN)
' Thursday, 7:35 p.m. (TBS)
How Gwinnett's stars fared in Tuesday's game:
3-for-5, HR, RBI
Season: .300 avg, 12 HR, 69 RBIs
2-for-4, HR, 4 RBIs
Season: .266 avg, 12 HR, 63 RBIs