Colorado at Atlanta

Scoreboard
Colorado (41-47)101000010361
Atlanta (53-36) «00501000x6121

Braves 6, Rockies 3

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ATLANTA -- The Braves' youngest stars are some of the biggest reasons the team is putting pressure on Philadelphia in the NL East.

Rookie Craig Kimbrel, only 23, took the major league lead with his 27th save and two 21-year-old sluggers, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward, hit home runs as Atlanta beat Colorado 6-3 Thursday to complete its first four-game sweep of the Rockies in 18 years.

Freeman hit four homers and drove in seven runs in the series. His third-inning homer was the highlight of a five-run inning that knocked Juan Nicasio (3-2) out of the game. Nicasio gave up six straight hits in the inning.

"Pitching has kept us in it all year long," Freeman said. "Finally we gave the pitchers some breathing room in this series."

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Freeman, the rookie first baseman, is hitting .279 with 13 homers and 42 RBI. One of his biggest rivals in the race for NL Rookie of the Year is Kimbrel, who passed Boston's Jonathan Papelbon for the most saves by a rookie before the All-Star break since 1969. Papelbon had 26 saves before the break in 2006.

The Braves have won nine of 10 and 14 of 17 as they head into a series with NL East-leading Philadelphia.

"It's going to be a good series, no question about that," said manager Fredi Gonzalez. "It's going to be fun."

Colorado has lost five straight and left Atlanta with more injury woes.

The depleted Rockies, already playing without regulars Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, had outfielder Charlie Blackmon break a metatarsal in his left foot while running the bases in the third inning.

Blackmon will return to Colorado where doctors will determine if surgery is necessary.

Tim Hudson (8-6) pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and three runs, to win his third straight decision.

Heyward and Freeman each had three hits for Atlanta, which enjoyed an offensive resurgence while scoring four or more runs in every game of its 6-1 homestand. The Braves outscored the Rockies 15-4 in the final two games of the series.

"Coming up through the minors together, we said we were going to work as hard as possible," said Heyward, who arrived in Atlanta one year before Freeman, his good friend. "We knew it was going to be a lot of fun when we got here. Don't take it for granted. Keep doing what we're doing now."

Rockies manager Jim Tracy said Gonzalez, who has a bruised right wrist, is close to returning to the lineup. Gonzalez was injured Sunday and missed the series.

Tulowitzki left Monday's first game of the series with a strained right quadriceps.

Jason Giambi, starting at first base for Todd Helton, drove in two runs. The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the first when Giambi's RBI double scored Jonathan Herrera from first. Giambi's fielder's choice grounder in the third drove in Ty Wigginton.

Wigginton entered the game as a pinch-runner after Blackmon was hurt while advancing from first to third on Herrera's single. Blackmon appeared to falter slightly near second base before his left foot made initial contact with the bag on his slide into third.

Nicasio intentionally walked Nate McLouth to load the bases in the second, but escaped the jam by striking out Hudson. Nicasio gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings.

Alex Gonzalez and Heyward had run-scoring singles in the Braves' five-run third inning. Heyward hit his ninth homer in the fifth.

Eric O'Flaherty took over for Hudson with one out in the eighth. O'Flaherty's wild pitch with the bases loaded allowed Mark Ellis to score from third.

The Braves' only other four-game sweep of the Rockies came on May 6-9, 1993, in Colorado.

Notes

  • The Rockies will recall OF Cole Garner from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Garner will join the team on Friday in Washington.
  • The Braves are 23-10 since June 1, the best mark in the majors in that span.
  • The Rockies have lost seven straight day games since beating Detroit on June 19. They are a season-worst six games under .500.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Tim Hudson's performance was enough to help the Braves complete a sweep over the injury-riddled Rockies. (Getty Images)
Tim Hudson's performance was enough to help the Braves complete a sweep over the injury-riddled Rockies. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

F. Freeman
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
Atlanta

T. Hudson
IP 7.1
H 5
ER 3
BB 3
K 3
 

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Colorado Rockies
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Charlie Blackmon, LF2010000 .255
    Ty Wigginton, PR-LF3100014 .251
Jonathan Herrera, SS4120110 .253
Jason Giambi, 1B5012012 .274
Seth Smith, RF3000111 .298
Mark Ellis, 2B3100105 .237
Ian Stewart, 3B4010000 .086
Ryan Spilborghs, CF3000100 .214
Chris Iannetta, C4000004 .221
Juan Nicasio, P1000010 .143
    Eric Stults, P2010001 .500
    Matt Reynolds, P0000000 .000
   a- Todd Helton, PH0000100 .315
    Aaron Cook, PR0000000 .182
    Rafael Betancourt, P0000000 .000
Totals3436255  
a-walked for M. Reynolds in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jason Giambi (4, Hudson), Eric Stults (1, Hudson)
RBI - Jason Giambi 2 (22)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Ian Stewart (4, Misplayed grounder)
Colorado Rockies
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Juan Nicasio (L,3-2) 2.1755341 4.91
Eric Stults 3.1311011 2.70
Matt Reynolds 1.1100120 3.38
Rafael Betancourt 1100020 4.84
IBB - McLouth by Juan Nicasio
Pitches-Strikes - Juan Nicasio 71-41, Eric Stults 51-36, Matt Reynolds 24-14, Rafael Betancourt 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Juan Nicasio 1-2, Eric Stults 3-7, Matt Reynolds 1-1
Batters Faced - Juan Nicasio 17, Eric Stults 14, Matt Reynolds 6, Rafael Betancourt 4
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jordan Schafer, CF5110013 .242
Alex Gonzalez, SS5111010 .234
Chipper Jones, 3B5110011 .255
Freddie Freeman, 1B4133100 .279
Dan Uggla, 2B4110102 .183
Jason Heyward, RF4132003 .233
David Ross, C4010033 .302
Nate McLouth, LF2010201 .231
Tim Hudson, P4000037 .059
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
Totals37612649  
Batting
2B - Jordan Schafer (5, Nicasio), Dan Uggla (13, Nicasio), Jason Heyward (11, Nicasio), Nate McLouth (12, M. Reynolds)
HR - Freddie Freeman (13, Nicasio), Jason Heyward (9, Stults)
RBI - Alex Gonzalez (26), Freddie Freeman 3 (42), Jason Heyward 2 (22)
SB - Jason Heyward (5, 2nd base off Nicasio/Iannetta), Nate McLouth (3, 3rd base off M. Reynolds/Iannetta)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Jones-Freeman
E - Dan Uggla (8, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tim Hudson (W,8-6) 7.1533330 3.57
Eric O'Flaherty 0.1100200 1.13
Jonny Venters (H,19) 0.1000010 1.52
Craig Kimbrel (S,27) 1000010 2.40
HBP - Smith (by Tim Hudson)
WP - Eric O'Flaherty (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 114-70, Eric O'Flaherty 18-9, Jonny Venters 4-3, Craig Kimbrel 9-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 14-6
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 32, Eric O'Flaherty 4, Jonny Venters 1, Craig Kimbrel 3
Game Information
Attendance - 21541
Game Time - 3:16
Temperature - 88
Umpires - Home - Scott Barry, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Cory Blaser