Braves power past Rockies
DENVER — It wasn’t complete payback for the Atlanta Braves. But it was more than enough.
Ender Inciarte hit two of Atlanta’s four solo home runs, and the Braves staggered the Colorado Rockies with a six-run seventh Thursday in a 10-4 victory and gained a split of their four-game series.
Freddie Freeman and Tyler Flowers also homered for the Braves, who rebounded from a 17-2 thrashing Wednesday and ended a 3-4 road trip.
“To bounce back the way we did and put up those runs shows a lot of resiliency and makes for a little bit better of a flight home,” said rookie starter Lucas Sims, who earned his first career win.
Sims (1-3), allowed two runs and five hits in five innings in his fourth career start. He wasn’t particularly efficient, throwing 57 of 94 pitches and never retiring the side in order, but Sims bulled his way through. The Rockies stranded seven runners as Sims held them to one hit — an infield single — in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position.
“He really battled and competed very well and made pitches when he had to,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It was pretty impressive, I thought, because he’s not immune to hearing about this place and witnessed what went on last night.”
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado had to leave the game in the seventh when Lane Adams’ line drive hit him in the exact spot on the back of the left hand where he was hit with a pitch Sunday at Miami. X-rays were negative.
“It hit a piece of my glove, which is good, but, yeah, exact same spot,” Arenado said. “It’s pretty swollen and it hurts a little bit right now. We’ll see how I feel in the morning. I expect to be in there tomorrow, but we’ll see how the swelling feels.”
Charlie Blackmon had three hits and hit a ninth-inning homer for the Rockies, who lost for the seventh time in 10 games. Colorado fell back into a tie with Arizona in the National League wild card race and remains four games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers, who visit Coors Field this weekend.
Colorado starter Jeff Hoffman (6-5) allowed four runs on a career-high four home runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings and recorded a season-low one strikeout for the second straight start.
“The ball was up in the strike zone,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “The Braves took advantage of the ball up today for sure — Inciarte, Flowers, Freeman. Just couldn’t get the breaking ball in good spots consistently. The fastball didn’t have the normal life to it.”
The Braves blew the game open with a six-run seventh when they sent 10 batters to the plate agianst Mike Dunn and Adam Ottavino. Brandon Phillips singled home a run, pinch hitter Matt Adams delivered a two-run double, Dansby Swanson hit a two-run triple and Adams scorched a run-scoring single off Arenado.
Flowers opened the second with his 10th homer, a drive into the Colorado bullpen in right-center that gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. Ryan McMahon had his first career RBI with a double and scored on a groundout by Blackmon in the second.
Inciarte hit his first homer to tie the game at 2-2 in the third. He opened the fifth with his second homer, and two batters later, Freeman gave the Braves a 4-2 lead when he launched a hanging 73 mph curveball to deep right-center. It was Freeman’s 22nd homer, and it ended the outing for Hoffman, who hasn’t won in six starts since July 16 and lost his fourth straight decision.
Sims’’biggest jam came in the third with the game tied at 2. He walked the leadoff hitter and had runners on first and second with no outs after an overturned call. A fielder’s choice was wiped out when a replay review determined that shortstop Swanson did not have his foot on second base when he took second baseman Ozzie Albies’ throw. Sims then sandwiched a strikeout of Trevor Story between two ground ball outs.
“That could have been a huge inning,” Snitker said. “Against these guys, you need every out. So that was a great job of hanging in there.”
NOTES: Braves CF Ender Inciarte’s multi-homer game was the third of his career and second this season. The other was April 12 at Miami. ... Rockies C Ryan Hanigan was scratched from the lineup due to a stomach bug. ... Rockies CF Charlie Blackmon has 14 triples, 13 at home. The last National League player to hit 14 or more triples at home was Hall of Famer Paul Waner for the 1928 Pittsburgh Pirates. ... Braves 2B Ozzie Albies’ triple in the second and stolen base in the seventh were his first in the majors. ... Rockies LHP Mike Dunn’s string of seven consecutive scoreless appearances totaling six innings ended when he was scored upon for just the second time in 18 games.