Braves 4, Rockies 1
Chipper Jones’ sore knee forced Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez to
juggle his lineup and make rookie Freddie Freeman the cleanup
hitter against the Rockies.
Freeman certainly looked comfortable in the role.
Freeman homered twice to drive in three runs, Tommy Hanson
combined with two relievers on a four-hitter and Atlanta beat
Colorado 4-1 on Monday night.
Freeman’s two-run shot in the first inning drove in Brian
McCann, who singled with two outs off Ubaldo Jimenez (3-8). Freeman
hit his 11th homer in the eighth off Matt Reynolds for his first
career two-homer game.
”He’s been great,” Gonzalez said. ”For a 21-year-old young
man, he’s been able to compete in the major leagues, get better and
help us win ballgames.”
Jimenez was facing the Braves for the first time since throwing
a no-hitter at Turner Field on April 17, 2010. It was the first
no-hitter in Rockies history.
Freeman hit fourth – McCann’s normal spot – for only the sixth
time. Freeman has four homers and 11 RBIs in his last 11 games.
”It’s just one of those things,” Freeman said. ”I feel like
I’m doing the same thing.”
Jones had a cortisone shot in his sore right knee on Sunday and
might return on Tuesday.
Freeman, a left-handed hitter, said he was trying to go up the
middle against Jimenez because ”you don’t want to try to pull a 96
Freeman hit the first-inning homer to left-center and then
pulled his second homer of the game to right.
”He had an unbelievable day,” Hanson said.
Hanson (10-4) gave up one run on four hits and one walk in seven
innings. He had six strikeouts while lowering his ERA to 2.52. He
ranks among the league leaders in wins and ERA but wasn’t selected
to the NL All-Star team on Sunday.
When asked if he was motivated to show he deserved to be an
All-Star, Hanson said, ”Not at all.”
”I just want to go out there and execute the game plan and
worry about our team,” he said.
Said Freeman: ”He’s an All-Star in all our books.”
Jonny Venters worked around a walk in the eighth and Craig
Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save.
The Rockies were without outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who bruised
his right wrist when he ran into the center-field wall Sunday
against Kansas City. X-rays showed no fracture, but Gonzalez said
Monday he can’t grip a bat.
Manager Jim Tracy said he wouldn’t rule out Gonzalez playing
The Rockies lost another star player in the fourth when Troy
Tulowitzki left with tightness in his right quadriceps.
Tulowitzki pulled up after grounding into a double play to end
the fourth. He leaned over in apparent discomfort near first base
before walking slowly off the field.
Tulowitzki said he felt the tightness about halfway down the
first-base line. He said he has had problems with the quadriceps
before and didn’t want to risk a more serious injury.
”A game or three or four or whatever is better than months,”
Jonathan Herrera replaced Tulowitzki at shortstop.
The Rockies scored in the fourth when Mark Ellis walked, stole
second and scored on Todd Helton’s single.
The Braves pushed their lead to 3-1 in the sixth when McCann
singled and scored on Jason Heyward’s double to center. Herrera
bobbled the relay throw from Ryan Spilborghs for an error, and
Heyward was not awarded an RBI.
The Rockies had only two hits before Herrera singled with two
outs in the seventh. He moved to third on Seth Smith’s double past
Freeman at first base, but Hanson ended the threat by striking out
Ty Wigginton. The usually stoic Hanson slapped his glove on his way
off the mound.
Rain started in the sixth inning and continued without an
interruption of play.
NOTES: The Rockies recalled OF Cole Garner from Triple-A
Colorado Springs. Garner flied out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth
in his first major league at-bat. … RHP Clayton Mortensen was
optioned to Colorado Springs. Mortensen was 2-4 with a 3.86 ERA in
16 games, including six starts, with the Rockies. … Jordan
Schafer had four strikeouts as Atlanta’s leadoff hitter. … Fredi
Gonzalez said OF Martin Prado, recovering from a staph infection,
may begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday or Wednesday.