7:10 PM ET, July 31, 2013
Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
Mike Minor throws 7 scoreless innings; Braves roll to 6th straight win
ATLANTA -- Big innings are helping the Atlanta Braves add to their big lead in the NL East.
Mike Minor allowed only two hits in seven scoreless innings, Brian McCann hit a three-run homer in Atlanta's seven-run third, and the Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 9-0 Wednesday night for their sixth straight win.
The Braves have scored at least six runs in one inning while winning the first three games of the four-game series. Atlanta has scored 29 runs in the three wins.
"We're clicking on all cylinders," Freeman said.
Atlanta is threatening to run away with the NL East race. The Braves lead second-place Washington by 11 games in the division, their biggest advantage in nine years.
Braves general manager Frank Wren didn't make a trade-deadline deal on Wednesday after he acquired left-hander Scott Downs for the bullpen on Monday. Wren didn't feel pressure to add another piece to what he said already is the most complete team in his six years as general manager.
"All in all, we're pretty happy," Wren said before the game. "Our club is playing as well as we have in a long time."
Minor (11-5) didn't walk a batter and didn't allow a Colorado baserunner to reach second base.
Tyler Chatwood (7-4) allowed a career-high seven earned runs on 10 hits, one walk and one hit batter in only 2 1/3 innings.
Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez left the game in the fourth inning after aggravating his sprained right middle finger. Manager Walt Weiss said the disabled list was a possibility for Gonzalez.
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said it was frustrating to lose back-to-back games by a combined margin of 20-3.
"These last two games have just been bad," Tulowitzki said. "We got our butts kicked."
While the Rockies have struggled, the Braves have delivered big innings in three straight games.
"I can't remember a time ever in my career three games in a row they scored, what, six-plus runs?" Tulowitzki asked. "Six in two games, seven tonight? In one inning?
"Putting together hit after hit. ... A little bit of everything. It's a tough series."
Dexter Fowler led off the game with a single up the middle and was thrown out by McCann attempting to steal second. That was the only baserunner Minor allowed until Nolan Arenado's single with two outs in the fifth.
Minor, coming off a strong outing in a win over the Cardinals on Friday night, has given up two or fewer runs in five straight starts. He threw 95 pitches, 70 for strikes.
Minor said the biggest challenge was staying sharp through the Braves' long innings and maintaining his edge with the big lead.
"It's hard to keep the focus as tight when you have a big lead like that," Minor said.
The Braves' first six batters reached base in the third inning. Freeman and Evan Gattis had run-scoring singles before McCann's 15th homer pushed the lead to 6-0. Minor's RBI single knocked Chatwood out of the game.
Freeman singled and scored on Chris Johnson's single off Adam Outman in the fourth.
Gonzalez, playing with a sprained middle finger on his right hand that affects his ability to grip the bat, lost the bat on his follow-through while striking out to end the first. The bat hit catcher McCann's shoulder, and he slumped forward for a few seconds before walking to the dugout.
Gonzalez, who throws left-handed, threw out Dan Uggla at the plate from left field in the second inning as Uggla tried to score from second on Andrelton Simmons' single. TV replays indicated catcher Yorvit Torrealba may have missed Uggla on his swipe tag, and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez came out for a brief exchange with home-plate umpire Marty Foster.
DJ LeMahieu pinch hit for Gonzalez in the fourth inning.
There was a delay in the seventh after Rockies right-hander Wilton Lopez hit Simmons with a pitch. The ball glanced off Simmons' chest and then squarely hit Foster's left forearm. Foster left the game after he was examined by Braves assistant trainer Jim Lovell. X-rays were negative.
Umpire Marvin Hudson moved from first base to take over at home.
Luis Ayala pitched the final two innings and stranded two baserunners in the ninth.
The last time the Braves led the division by 11 games was Oct. 2, 2004. ... Chatwood's ERA climbed from 2.48 to 3.15 with the ugly start. ... Braves GM Frank Wren said he had a few calls "but nothing that had a lot of traction" before the trade deadline. Wren said it was a "strange" trade market and "the asking prices were very high." ... Freeman had his second four-hit game of his career. His first was May 4, 2012, at Colorado. ... Faces in the crowd: Former boxing champion Evander Holyfield, former Braves manager Bobby Cox and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. ... Rockies RHP Chad Bettis will be called up from Double-A Tulsa to start in his major league debut against the Braves on Thursday night. RHP Julio Teheran will start for Atlanta.
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 31: Dexter Fowler #24 of the Colorado Rockies is tagged out on a steal attempt by Dan Uggla #26...(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Regular Season Series
|Atlanta leads 6-1 (as of Wed 7/31)|
|Tue 4/23||ATL 4, @COL 3||Recap|
|Tue 4/23||ATL 10, @COL 2||Recap|
|Wed 4/24||@COL 6, ATL 5||Recap|
|Mon 7/29||@ATL 9, COL 8||Recap|
|Tue 7/30||@ATL 11, COL 3||Recap|
|» Wed 7/31||@ATL 9, COL 0||Box Score|
|Thu 8/1||@ATL 11, COL 2||Recap|
|Complete Schedule: Rockies | Braves|
|1st||F Freeman singled to center, J Heyward scored, J Upton to second.||0||1|
|3rd||F Freeman singled to right center, J Heyward scored, J Upton to third.||0||2|
|3rd||E Gattis singled to left, J Upton scored, F Freeman to second.||0||3|
|3rd||B McCann homered to right (382 feet), F Freeman and E Gattis scored.||0||6|
|3rd||M Minor singled to left, C Johnson scored, A Simmons to third.||0||7|
|3rd||J Heyward grounded out to first, A Simmons scored, M Minor to second.||0||8|
|4th||C Johnson reached on infield single to third, F Freeman scored.||0||9|
|View complete Play-By-Play|
|Stadium||Turner Field, Atlanta, GA|
|Attendance||22,097 (44.8% full) - % is based on regular season capacity|
|Weather||76 degrees, cloudy|
|Umpires||Home Plate - Marty Foster, First Base - Marvin Hudson, Second Base - Jordan Baker, Third Base - Tim McClelland|
The Braves had a 7-run inning in the 3rd. It's the 3rd straight game in which they've scored at least 6 runs in any inning (Mon: 6 runs in 3rd, Tue: 6 runs in 4th, Wed: 7 runs in 3rd). FROM ELIAS: The last MLB team with 3+ straight games with a 6+ run inning was the Yankees from May 18-20, 2009 (3 straight). The last time the Braves franchise did it was September 24-25, 1900 when they were known as the Boston Beaneaters (9/25 was a DH).
The Braves scored at least eight runs in a game for the 18th time this season on Wednesday. It was the fourth time in six games against the Rockies this season that the Braves have scored at least eight runs. Atlanta has scored eight or more runs 14 times in its 102 games against teams other than the Rockies.
Freddie Freeman had a season-high four hits Wednesday, which also tied his career high (had 4 hits on May 4, 2012). Over his last two games, Freeman is 6-for-8 with two home runs, six RBI and five runs scored.
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