Three Cuts: Rockies sink Santana, Braves, force series split
JUN 12, 2014 6:44p ET
1. The Braves were in a giving mood, helping Jhoulys Chacin notch his first victory of the season
Prior to Thursday, you'd have to track back to Sept. 9 of last year, or 11 starts ago, to find the last time Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin went at least seven innings and surrendered two or less runs in the same outing.
On this day, Chacin kept the Braves in check, never facing more than four batters in a single frame and allowing just two hits and two walks overall.
And frankly, it's fair to ask why the Rockies benched Chacin so quickly. The veteran righty had tossed only 85 pitches (56 strikes) and was in total command of the Braves, retiring the leadoff hitter six times -- with Tommy La Stella's double in the 5th as the lone exception.
There were some late Braves heroics once the Rockies dipped into their bullpen, with Jason Heyward belting a 390-foot RBI single (scoring Jordan Schafer) and B.J. Upton immediately following that with a two-run homer (trimming the Braves' deficit to 8-3).
But that was pretty much it for an Atlanta offense which halted its 11-game trend of scoring four or less runs one day ... and then rolling for five or more runs the next.
As such, the Braves (34-31, 16-17 on the road) shall remain behind the Washington Nationals for at least another day in the National League East standings.
2. The Atlanta pitchers were likely happy to wave bye-bye to Coors Field (until next year)
For a second straight day, a Braves starting pitcher was bludgeoned by an eager corps of Rockies hitters.
Not that Colorado needed Tulo to beat Atlanta and force a series split for the week.
Behind Charlie Blackmon (one homer, two runs, three hits, three RBI) and Justin Morneau (one run, two hits, three RBI), the Rockies (31-35) had little trouble notching eight or more runs for the 19th time this season ... and collecting double-digit hits for the 33rd time in 2014.
2a. We're essentially choosing to ignore the brouhaha between the Rockies and Braves, once Gerald Laird went down with an injury
By all accounts, Laird's eighth-inning malady -- taking an errant bat to the jaw on Chris Dickerson's backswing -- seemed to be clean and without malice on the Rockies' end.
And yet, that didn't stop Braves reliever David Carpenter from plunking Dickerson after Evan Gattis had replaced Laird at catcher -- during the same at-bat.
(In the postgame, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Laird would be OK for the weekend series against the Angels.)
The whole 'macho' thing can be so irrelevant at times, so much that it's fair to wonder if today's ballplayers (regardless of club) can properly distinguish an accidental injury from one that warrants retribution in the same game.
And if anything, Carpenter's antics temporarily overshadowed the bullpen's galling lack of production over the last few weeks, blowing a handful of saves and giving up runs in droves.
3. It'll be nice for the Braves to settle into a town -- any city -- for more than four days
We all know major-league ballplayers chow down on catered food, travel on chartered jets and stay in four-star hotels on the road. So, it's not like we have overwhelming sympathy for their collective plight during the season.
However, it's worth noting the Braves have essentially been living out of a suitcase since May 27, hitting towns like Boston, Miami, Atlanta (two-day homestand), Arizona and Denver for just a few days each time.
And following that long flight home to Atlanta (from Denver), the club actually gets a chance to unpack and emotionally recharge for a crucial home stand against the surging Angels (Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols are all healthy) and enigmatic Phillies (last place in the NL East).
Of course, I'll be in Pinehurst, N.C. for the U.S. Open this weekend ... and will have to rely on first-hand accounts of Mike Trout from shaky secondhand sources.
Ah, but this is the life we lead as travel-weary sports journalists ... minus the chartered jets and four-star hotels. Thank goodness for the catered meals in the press tent.