However, that became necessary Tuesday as the Braves held on to
beat the Colorado Rockies 13-10.
"Kimbrel was terrific. Let's start with that one, because he was," a
smiling and relieved Gonzalez said to begin his postgame remarks.
The right-hander struck out the side in the ninth, throwing 11
pitches, all for strikes, and hitting 99 mph with his fastball to
wrap up a vintage Coors Field game. The Braves and Rockies combined
for 29 hits and used a total of 13 pitchers, who threw a combined
"That's a good win on what could've been a tough day," Gonzalez
said. "I've been in this office many times in that same situation
with a loss hanging over your head."
The Braves struck for seven hits and seven runs in the first inning
against Juan Nicasio, the outburst highlighted by shortstop
Andrelton Simmons' first career grand slam on a high 1-0 slider with
"I think he was looking for the slider," Nicasio said. "He likes up
in the zone, too. But bases loaded, the guy's a pull hitter, I try
like throw a slider so he rolls over for a double play. But he hit a
Nicasio (5-5) allowed a career-high 10 runs and matched his season
high by giving up 11 hits. He lasted 3 2/3 innings, his shortest
start of the year. Nicasio gave up three homers in a game for the
first time, surrendering solo shots in the fourth to first baseman
Freddie Freeman and catcher Evan Gattis, who went 3-for-4 with four
runs and two RBIs.
Nicasio is 0-3 with a 14.49 ERA in his past three starts.
"My team score 10 runs, I need to win this game," Nicasio said.
Instead, the free-falling Rockies (29-35) lost for the 11th time in
12 games and the 15th time in 18. They are 1-8 on their 10-game
homestand that ends Thursday, dropping their record at Coors Field
this season to 17-14.
"There's a lot of fight in this team," shortstop Troy Tulowitzki
said. "To give up seven in the first and score 10, we definitely
fought back. We didn't quit. It just wasn't enough tonight."
Braves starter Mike Minor was knocked out after facing two batters
in the fifth, failing to qualify for the win. He matched career
highs in hits (11) and runs (eight) allowed. It was the second time
Minor yielded eight runs in a game, the other being the first time
he took the mound at Coors Field on May 5, 2012.
Minor was staked to a seven-run lead before he walked onto the
"(Gattis) said, 'We're going to act like it's a 0-0 game,'" Minor
said. "I couldn't throw a curveball for a strike. They eliminated
every off-speed pitch and fastballs -- I was barely missing the
In addition to Gattis, third baseman Chris Johnson had three hits
for Atlanta, giving him six hits, all singles, in the first two
games of this series. Second baseman Tommy La Stella added two hits
and drove in two runs, as did Freeman.
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Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario hit an RBI single and a solo homer.
Colorado second baseman Josh Rutledge finished with three hits and
three runs, and left fielder Corey Dickerson and center fielder Drew
Stubbs each had two hits.
Atlanta reliever David Hale (2-0) got the win, yielding one run in 2
1/3 innings after taking over for Minor.
Braves reliever Jordan Walden, who came off the disabled list
Tuesday after missing 32 games with a hamstring injury, took the
mound in the eighth and showed his rust. He walked the first three
batters he faced before getting Drew Stubbs to pop out and giving
way to right-hander Shae Simmons.
First baseman Justin Morneau hit a sacrifice fly that also moved up
the runners from first and second, but Rutledge struck out to end
the inning. That paved the way for Kimbrel, who earned his 18th save
in 21 chances. He has 45 strikeouts and 11 walks in 24 2/3 innings.
The Braves (34-29) improved to 22-5 in their past 27 games against
the Rockies. They are 3-2 on their current seven-game road trip
after winning for the sixth time in 11 games.
NOTES: Braves LF Justin Upton singled in the top of the first, but
he did not take the field in the bottom of the inning due to a
strained left hamstring. He is listed day-to-day. ... Braves C Evan
Gattis extended his career-high hitting streak to 11 games. ...
Rockies LF Carlos Gonzalez underwent exploratory surgery at the
Cleveland Clinic on his inflamed left index finger. A cell tumor was
removed, and it will be analyzed in a biopsy. Such tumors are common
within the sheath of the finger and are usually benign, Rockies
trainer Keith Dugger said. ... Braves RHP Jordan Walden (strained
left hamstring) was activated from the disabled list, and LHP Alex
Wood was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. ... LHP Tyler Matzek will
make his major league debut Wednesday when he starts for the
Rockies. At Triple-A Colorado Springs, he was 5-4 with a 4.05 ERA in
12 starts. ... Colorado RHP Eddie Butler underwent an MRI exam
Monday that showed no structural damage in his right shoulder, just
inflammation. Butler went on the DL on Monday. ... RF Michael
Cuddyer, who has a non-displaced fracture in his left shoulder
socket, will be in a sling for six weeks and isn't likely to return
to the Rockies until late August.
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