|Colorado (47-51) «||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||3||6||2|
DENVER -- Carlos Gonzalez gave his family members quite the send-off thanks in large part to Martin Prado's tough night.
"It's always special when my family's here" the Venezuelan slugger said. "They don't have that opportunity every day to get to see me play and it's funny because two nights ago my sister was telling me, 'I don't want to leave here without seeing you hit a home run.' And I hit a home run last night and today was another special game.
"You don't have that opportunity every day to drive a guy home and [celebrate]."
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Or to go home and rejoice some more with relatives who are flying out Thursday.
Prado's rare fielding error at third base paved the way for Gonzalez's big moment.
O'Flaherty (1-3) retired his first two batters before Prado let Dexter Fowler's grounder go through his legs for a two-base error.
"No excuse," Prado said. "I should've stayed down, stopped that ball."
Pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton was intentionally walked, bringing up Gonzalez, who slapped the first pitch he saw into right field, scoring Fowler from second.
"You just hate to lose a ballgame, two outs nobody on in the ninth and one of your best defenders makes an error," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But that's the way it goes and I was the first one to pat him on the back when he came off the field."
It wasn't that easy to console Prado, though.
"I hope this game is not going to cost us at the end of the year," Prado said. "I don't have any excuses. I have to make that play. I had a real tough game offensive-wise (0 for 4) and defensively. I guess it's one of those nights, it's going to be hard to sleep."
Prado wasn't just kicking himself for his error, either. The one time he did reach base, he was thrown out at home on a play he and many others thought was going to be an easy run-scoring groundout.
The Braves put runners at second and third with no outs in the sixth as Prado reached on an error and Freddie Freeman followed with a double down the right field line.
Prado took off on Dan Uggla's groundball to Ian Stewart and was so surprised that the third baseman threw home that he was tagged out without even sliding.
"It's a difficult play for Stewart and for him to even come to the plate kind of surprised everybody a little bit," Gonzalez said.
Second baseman Mark Ellis then made a run-saving stab of Jason Heyward's groundball for the second out, and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki capped the inning with a barehanded grab of Alex Gonzalez's comebacker that ricocheted off rookie right-hander Juan Nicasio and fired to first in the nick of time.
Gonzalez said he couldn't blame Prado for trying to score on Uggla's grounder to third.
"I think it's a good read on his part. The ball going to Stewart's left. It looked like he maybe just hesitated a little bit. But nobody out, it's obviously not a contact play, but if he reads that third base going to his left -- it's a difficult play Stewart made look pretty easy," Gonzalez said. "Then Ellis made a great play on the ball to his left and Tulowitzki on the slow roller."
Backed by such stellar defense, Nicasio was again overpowering at Coors Field, allowing one run and five hits over seven innings. He stood to improve to 5-0 at home until Matt Lindstrom blew the save in just two pitches in the eighth inning.
Jordan Schafer led off with a single against Rex Brothers, who retired the next two batters before giving way to Lindstrom. Schafer stole second on Lindstrom's first pitch and Uggla lined his second offering into center field to score Schafer.
Nicasio lowered his ERA at Coors Field to 1.57 thanks to command of his fastball and more sink on his slider.
Helton gave Colorado a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run shot into the seats in right field, his 11th homer. The Braves cut their deficit in half in the second when Heyward singled and scored on a double by David Ross.
Braves right-hander Tim Hudson allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings.
|Rookie right-hander Juan Nicasio is once again outstanding for Colorado, giving up just one run over seven innings. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Jordan Schafer, CF||4||1||2||0||0||1||1||.236|
|Martin Prado, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.275|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.277|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||.193|
|Julio Lugo, PR-2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.095|
|Jason Heyward, RF||3||1||1||0||0||0||0||.225|
|Alex Gonzalez, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||.224|
|David Ross, C||4||0||1||1||0||1||0||.288|
|Eric O'Flaherty, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Nate McLouth, LF||3||0||0||0||1||2||0||.220|
|Tim Hudson, P||3||0||1||0||0||1||2||.125|
|Jonny Venters, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Brian McCann, PH-C||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.312|
|a-flied out for Venters in the 9th|
|2B - Freddie Freeman (22, Nicasio), David Ross (4, Nicasio)|
|RBI - Dan Uggla (38), David Ross (16)|
|2-OUT RBI - Dan Uggla (10), David Ross (9)|
|SB - Jordan Schafer 2 (15, 2nd base off Nicasio/Alfonzo, 2nd base off Lindstrom/Alfonzo)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|E - Martin Prado (5, Misplayed grounder)|
|Eric O'Flaherty (L,1-3)||0.2||1||1||0||1||0||0||0.99|
|IBB - Wigginton by Eric O'Flaherty|
|HBP - Helton (by Tim Hudson), Fowler (by Tim Hudson)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 107-67, Jonny Venters 14-9, Eric O'Flaherty 14-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 10-5, Jonny Venters 2-0, Eric O'Flaherty 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 28, Jonny Venters 4, Eric O'Flaherty 5|
|Carlos Gonzalez, LF||5||1||2||1||0||1||1||.288|
|Mark Ellis, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.235|
|Todd Helton, 1B||3||1||1||2||0||0||0||.324|
|Troy Tulowitzki, SS||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.274|
|Seth Smith, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.293|
|Eliezer Alfonzo, C||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.200|
|Ian Stewart, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.138|
|Dexter Fowler, CF||3||1||2||0||0||0||0||.245|
|Juan Nicasio, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.118|
|a- Jonathan Herrera, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Rex Brothers, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Matt Lindstrom, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Huston Street, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Ty Wigginton, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.252|
|a-grounded out for Nicasio in the 7th|
|b-was walked intentionally for Street in the 9th|
|2B - Dexter Fowler (15, Hudson)|
|HR - Todd Helton (11, Hudson)|
|SH - Juan Nicasio (1)|
|RBI - Carlos Gonzalez (55), Todd Helton 2 (50)|
|2-OUT RBI - Carlos Gonzalez (20)|
|CS - Dexter Fowler (7, 2nd base by Hudson/Ross)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Helton-Tulowitzki|
|E - Eliezer Alfonzo (1, Interference), Juan Nicasio (1, Missed catch of throw)|
|Rex Brothers (H,5)||0.2||1||1||1||0||0||0||2.87|
|Matt Lindstrom (BS,3)||0.1||1||0||0||0||0||0||2.82|
|Huston Street (W,1-3)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.48|
|IBB - McLouth by Juan Nicasio|
|Pitches-Strikes - Juan Nicasio 101-64, Rex Brothers 7-6, Matt Lindstrom 6-4, Huston Street 11-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Juan Nicasio 12-5, Matt Lindstrom 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Juan Nicasio 27, Rex Brothers 3, Matt Lindstrom 3, Huston Street 3|
|Attendance - 39339|
|Game Time - 2:51|
|Temperature - 88|
|Umpires - Home - Angel Campos, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Sam Holbrook|