Braves 11, Rockies 3

BY foxsports • July 31, 2013

Freddie Freeman is a big reason why the Atlanta Braves always believe they can score runs.

''It seems like we always get a couple of guys on, and we're one swing away,'' he said. ''There's nine innings, so we're not ever going to get down. We've done that this year.''

Freeman hit two homers, Brian McCann added a three-run shot and the Atlanta Braves won their fifth straight game with an 11-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

The Braves, who scored 10 unanswered runs, moved 10 games ahead of second-place Washington in the NL East. They lead the majors with a 36-15 home record.

Freeman had four RBIs with his first multihomer game this season and fourth of his career. His three-run shot in the seventh gave the Braves an 11-3 lead.

Atlanta scored six runs with two out in the fourth inning to make it 8-3 on Jason Heyward's RBI single, Evan Gattis' two-run double and McCann's 14th homer.

Rookie Alex Wood (1-2) earned his first career victory, allowing six hits, three runs and one walk while striking out seven in seven innings.

Wood overcame a couple of obstacles. First was a blister on his left index finger that began to bleed and hindered his location. Second was relying too much on his curveball early in the game and not as much on his changeup.

But visiting in the dugout pitching coach Roger McDowell and the team trainer corrected both issues.

''I don't think it really had an effect,'' Wood said. ''We had a game plan going in. That was just a small hiccup. I could've been anything out there.''

Juan Nicasio (6-5) gave up 10 hits and a season-high eight runs, walking four and striking out four in four innings.

The Rockies led 1-0 in the first on Carlos Gonzalez's sacrifice fly and went ahead 3-1 in the second on Nolan Arenado's ninth homer, but Nicasio couldn't hold the leads.

Since getting recalled July 12 from Triple-A Colorado Springs, Nicasio had gone 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA in three starts, but the right-hander was finished after making 31 pitches in the fourth.

Nicasio dropped to 0-3 and has a 9.82 ERA in four career starts against Atlanta.

''We've had a tough time staying away from the big inning first two games of this series,'' Rockies manager Walt Weiss said after watching his team give up a six-run inning for the second straight night. ''We've got to put innings away, we've got to put games away.''

Freeman's 13th homer, a three-run shot off Edgmer Escalona, put the Braves up 11-3. In 67 games since May 15, Freeman is hitting .311 with 11 homers and 50 RBIs.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez can sense other players feeding off Freeman's success.

''When you keep the line moving and keep having good, quality at-bats, we can do that,'' Gonzalez said. ''We can do that people. We've got that kind of offense.''

Colorado's Michael Cuddyer singled in the seventh and tried to score from first on Wilin Rosario's double, but was tagged out at the plate.

Heyward overran the ball in left-center after it took a bad hop and had to turn back two steps to pick it up, but his relay to Andrelton Simmons was on time, and Cuddyer was cut down on McCann's tag.

''I knew I didn't have a lot of time,'' Simmons said. ''I didn't want to overthrow him and cause all that, so just tried to keep it low and get as much as I could on it.''

NOTES: Rookie OF Todd Cunningham, a top Braves prospect, was cheered loudly after singling in the seventh in his first major league at-bat. Cunningham's contract was purchased earlier in the day from Triple-A Gwinnett when OF Reed Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left heel tendinitis. Cunningham stayed in the game and replaced Gattis in left field. ... Colorado LHP Jeff Francis allowed three hits and two runs in 2 1-3 innings. It was Francis' second relief appearance in 217 career games and first since Oct. 3, 2010 against St. Louis. ... Rockies manager Walt Weiss said he still hasn't decided who will start the series finale on Thursday opposite Atlanta RHP Julio Teheran. ... RHP Brandon Beachy told Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez that he felt normal soreness after Monday's start, his first in returning from elbow ligament replacement surgery in June 2012. Beachy allowed eight hits, a career-high seven runs and one walk with five strikeouts in 3 2-3 innings.