KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Jason Heyward appears to be regaining his power stroke, and that's good news for the Braves.
Homering for the second time in three games, Heyward hit a grand slam in the first inning off Wandy Rodriguez as Atlanta beat the Houston Astros 9-5 on Friday night.
Heyward, runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year in 2010, struggled last season. Bothered by a sore shoulder, he hit just .227 with 14 homers and 42 RBIs.
But the left-handed hitter rededicated himself while rehabbing his shoulder over the winter and came to camp about 20 pounds lighter than a year ago.
"He had a great at-bat," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the grand slam. "He was aggressive and that is what we want to see."
The drive to right-center field came off a tough lefty. Rodriguez was 11-11 with a 3.49 ERA last year and will be the Astros' starter on opening day this season.
"When he's right, he can hit any lefty," Gonzalez said of Heyward. "It doesn't matter who he is facing."