Gonzalez, Bettis help Rockies to 7-3 win over Braves
DENVER (AP) Carlos Gonzalez can't ever remember hitting a ball any better or louder.
''Just a sweet sound coming off the bat,'' he said.
The smooth-swinging slugger hit a three-run homer to break a scoreless tie in the sixth inning, Chad Bettis threw efficiently into the seventh and the Colorado Rockies beat the Atlanta Braves 7-3 on Thursday night.
Gonzalez drilled a 97 mph fastball from Mike Foltynewicz (3-4) over the fence in right-center. It was Gonzalez's 20th homer of the season and first since participating in the All-Star Home Run Derby.
''I knew I was going to get one pitch the whole night. That was it,'' Gonzalez said. ''I'm glad I didn't miss it. I didn't waste that great outing that Bettis was throwing.''
Bettis (8-6) was in command all night thanks to his curveball. The right-hander allowed one run over 6 2-3 innings. He was cruising through Atlanta's lineup until hitting a bump in the seventh when he gave up an RBI double to A.J. Pierzynski.
''I really liked the way he used his curveball,'' Rockies manager Walt Weiss explained. ''Got a lot of strikes and outs with it.''
Trailing 7-1 in the ninth, the Braves scored twice before the Rockies brought in closer Carlos Estevez with two outs. He got Jace Peterson to roll out to end the game and earn his seventh save.
The Rockies have won seven straight over Atlanta at Coors Field.
Foltynewicz was both electric and erratic in 5 2-3 innings. He didn't allow a hit until DJ LeMahieu's leadoff single in the fourth and struck out five. He walked five.
His most costly mistake was the fastball to Gonzalez, who has six seasons with at least 20 homers.
''You can't fall behind one of the best fastball hitters in the game,'' Foltynewicz conceded. ''He was waiting on the inside fastball and he turned on it.''
Pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds added some insurance with a solo homer in the seventh that went an estimated 484 feet. It was his first pinch-hit homer in two years.
''He got it good,'' Weiss said. ''Pinch-hit homers are nice.''
There was a crazy play in the eighth with runners on second and third. On a single by Nick Hundley, Trevor Story scored easily but Daniel Descalso nearly collided with shortstop Erick Aybar as Descalso took off from second. Descalso was thrown out at the plate, but Aybar was called for obstruction. Hundley was credited with one RBI and Aybar was given an error.
Pierzynski was ejected on the play for what he said was kicking the ball toward the Rockies dugout.
''We needed a new ball. I've done that 100 times over my career,'' Pierzynski explained. ''I wasn't looking at him. I didn't say anything to him.
''I apologized. Maybe I should have bent over and picked it up and rolled it over there?''
Anthony Recker replaced him and had an RBI double in the ninth, part of a two-run inning off Rockies reliever Jason Motte.
Braves: OF Mallex Smith (broken left thumb) is swinging one-handed and doing some throwing. … RHP Daniel Winkler (broken right elbow) isn't close to heading out for a rehab assignment, interim manager Brian Snitker said. Winkler is still going through long toss.
Rockies: Backup C Tony Wolters wears a bandage on his chin after recently fouling off a bunt attempt in batting practice that struck him in the face. ''You can't teach stuff like that,'' Weiss joked. It didn't bother him as Wolters delivered a pinch-hit, RBI double in the eighth. … Weiss said OF Gerardo Parra (sprained left ankle) is getting closer to a rehab assignment.
OF Nick Markakis went 32 straight plate appearances without swinging at a pitch and missing. That ended in the ninth when he swung at strike three. He finished 1 for 3.
''He has such a great eye at the plate,'' Snitker said. ''He's one of the most disciplined hitters that I've seen.''
3B Nolan Arenado got a rare day off Thursday after struggling at the plate this month. He hasn't homered since July 5 at San Francisco.
''I run him out there pretty regularly. He's very durable,'' Weiss said.
This certainly looks familiar: Jon Gray (5-4) and Julio Teheran (3-8) will face each other Friday night – the second time in a week. The starters didn't figure into the decision during a 1-0 Atlanta win last Sunday.