Anderson, Braves dominate sluggish Backe in win over Astros

HOUSTON -- Josh Anderson's homecoming was more than a little special.

Anderson hit two home runs and Jeff Francoeur drove in three runs with a pair of doubles to help the Atlanta Braves beat the Houston Astros 11-5 on Saturday night.

"Any time a team trades you, you want to go out and make an impression that says, 'This is what I can do," Anderson said. "Obviously, it's fun proving somebody wrong. I really respect the Astros organization. It's just nice to do good, especially against a team you used to play for."

Manager Bobby Cox acknowledged the night was unusual for Anderson, who had only one home run before Saturday.

"This is a good ball park when the roof's open," Cox said. "The ball just flies out of here. He's not a home-run hitter. We know that. But he got some good hits tonight."

Anderson, who played in 21 games for Houston at the end of last season and hit .358 before being traded for reliever Oscar Villarreal in the offseason, agreed.

"I like hitting here," Anderson said. "It's a good place to hit. You can see the ball well. It was just nice to get some big hits and to do it here."

It was also a satisfying game for Francoeur, who went 3-for-5.

"I finally got a hit with the bases loaded," Francoeur said. "But Josh has got to feel great, coming back and having this kind of game against the team that traded him. Any time you play the team that traded you, you look at it as, 'You guys didn't want me."

The Braves jumped to a 9-0 lead after their first two at-bats and finished with 18 hits, tying the most allowed by the Astros this season.

"I wish I could give you something positive, but it was hard to come back from 9-0," manager Cecil Cooper said. "The relief was good in the middle and the guys fought hard."

Brandon Backe (9-14) went 1 1/3 innings, the shortest outing of his career, and allowed eight runs and eight hits, including two home runs, both by Anderson. He leads the major leagues with 36 homers allowed.

Over his last two starts, Backe pitched a total of three innings and allowed 13 runs and 14 hits and he admitted afterward he doesn't think the Astros will want him back.

"I loved my time here," he said. "I am from here. It has been great, but when reality strikes, I think they are going to get rid of me. It's not up to me. I'm going to work hard in the offseason for next year whether it is with the Astros or someone else."

Cooper didn't deny being disappointed with Backe.

"This was not what I expected from Brandon," Cooper said. "I thought he had his high points this season, but the consistency we expected from Brandon and Wandy [Rodriguez] wasn't there. Coming out of spring training, I thought they would have 12-14 wins each. We need more consistency from them."

James Parr made his fifth start of the season since being called up from Triple-A Richmond on Sept. 2. He left with a 9-5 lead but didn't get the win because he went only 4 1/3 innings. He allowed five runs -- four earned -- and eight hits.

Reliever Vladimir Nunez (1-2) pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings to take the win.

Anderson led off with a home run on the second pitch of the game. It was his second homer of the season. Brandon Jones added a two-run double to give the Braves a 3-0 lead in the first.

Anderson added a two-run homer in the second inning to make it 5-0.

Backe was pulled three batters later after he walked Casey Kotchman to load the bases. Francoeur's double off reliever Jack Cassel scored three more and Jones followed with an RBI single for a 9-0 lead.

Hunter Pence hit his 25th home run of the season in the second inning for Houston. Lance Berkman drove in his 106th run of the season in the third.

Chipper Jones flied out in the ninth as a pinch-hitter, lowering his major league-leading average to .364. Jones, who has been out of the starting lineup due to right shoulder inflammation since Sept. 21, leads St. Louis' Albert Pujols (.356) by eight points for the NL batting title.

Game notes
It was Anderson's second career leadoff homer. The first was Sept. 2, at Florida. ... Jorge Julio pitched a scoreless inning for his 11th consecutive appearance in which he hasn't allowed a run. ... Jones fell a point behind Mickey Mantle for the highest single-season batting average by a switch hitter. Mantle hit .365 in 1957. ... Miguel Tejada increased his National League record for hitting into double plays with his 32nd in the third inning. He set the record Friday. ... Berkman's third-inning hit gave him 1,449 for his career, moving him past Bob Watson for fifth on the Astros' career list... Berkman increased his career high for stolen bases to 18 in the seventh inning. ... With a major-league low 66 errors entering the final game, the Astros will top the club record of 76 set in 1994.