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Downs steps in for Oberholtzer vs. Braves

After rain alters pitching plans, reliever gets start and goes two innings

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Dan Uggla hit his third home run of Spring Training in the second inning Monday afternoon and added a two-run triple an inning later to lead the Braves to a 4-0 rain-shortened win over the Astros in five innings at Osceola County Stadium.

Uggla homered to left field against Darin Downs, who started the game and threw his scheduled two innings. The Braves scored three times in the third against left-hander Kevin Chapman, capped by Uggla's two-run triple to right field.

Chapman, a candidate to close games this year, had not allowed a run in his first four Spring Training appearances.

Downs, who is a reliever, got the start for the Astros after the club decided to throw Brett Oberholtzer in a Minor League game earlier in the day to avoid pending rain showers. The Astros followed Downs with a steady diet of relievers.

Left-hander Alex Wood started for the Braves and threw five scoreless innings, allowing two hits. He's yet to allow an earned run in four starts.

Up next: Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who hasn't allowed a run in three spring outings covering nine innings, will try to fortify his spot in the rotation when he starts against the Marlins in Jupiter at 12:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday (listen on Gameday Audio). Keuchel is scheduled to throw about five innings.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
Read More: Houston Astros, Kevin Chapman, Darin Downs