Braves top Rockies in cold game between hot teams
DENVER — On the coldest day at Coors Field, the Atlanta Braves won a game between the hottest teams in the major leagues.
Starting a day-night doubleheader that opened with a 23-degree temperature, Justin Upton hit his major league-leading 10th home run, Dan Uggla and rookie Evan Gattis also connected and the Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 Tuesday.
Reed Johnson, playing right field for Atlanta because Jason Heyward underwent an appendectomy Monday night, went 4 for 4 with three doubles. Heyward was put on the 15-day disabled list.
Colorado and Atlanta each began the day at 13-5, tied for the best record in the major leagues.
This was the coldest gametime temperature in the majors since it began collecting data in 1991, according to STATS. The Rockies said the previous low at Coors Field was 28.
Pitching in short sleeves while many of the other players were bundled up, Mike Minor (3-1) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. By the time Craig Kimbrel, pitched a one-hit ninth for his eighth save in eight chances, the temperature had warmed up to 27.
Gattis hit a tiebreaking home run in the fourth and ended the game by throwing out Wilin Rosario trying to steal second.
Jeff Francis (1-2) gave up four runs and six hits in four innings, leaving him with an 8.44 ERA.
Ground crews began working at around 6 a.m. to clear several inches of snow from the playing surface at Coors Field, which opened in 1995. While there was no sign of snow on the field when the game started, some parts of the ballpark remained closed, including the snow-filled Rockpile section in center. Workers hosed off the snow on the stand of evergreen trees beyond the center field wall. It was important that the trees be cleared of the snow because they’re part of the green “batters’ eye” background.
It’s been a wintry April for Denver, which has been hit by a wave of snowy weather over the past nine days that forced postponements of games three times. The delays led to two doubleheaders within a week.
Upton hit a solo drive in the first, and Upton’s two-run homer in the second made it 3-0. Colorado closed in the second on Rosario’s run-scoring groundout and Jordan Pacheco’s RBI single, then tied the score in the third when Dexter Fowler tripled to the right-field wall and Josh Rutledge singled.
Gattis homered leading off the fourth.
NOTES: The announced crowd was 19,124. … INF Tyler Pastornicky was recalled from Triple A Gwinnett to fill Heyward’s roster spot. … The Rockies were 0-3 at home against the Braves last year and 1-6 overall.