Braves fall to Rockies in rain-soaked series opener
DENVER -- David Hale didn't get the reunion he expected but he got the win he wanted for the Colorado Rockies.
Hale pitched 1 2-3 innings of emergency relief before leaving with a mild left groin strain, and the Rockies beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on a rain-soaked Thursday night.
Troy Tulowitzki singled to extend his hitting streak to 21 games -- longest in the majors this season. Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado had three hits each for the second consecutive night for the Rockies, who dealt with another weather delay at home.
"It's crazy," Gonzalez said. "It's almost the All-Star break and it's still raining and 60 degrees."
A heavy rainstorm came through two pitches into the bottom of the first inning and sent the players and fans scurrying for shelter. The delay lasted 2 hours, 6 minutes, and ended the night early for both starters.
"Groundskeepers did a nice job of getting that game in," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That field was almost getting unplayable and they got the game in."
Hale, the scheduled starter Friday for Colorado, was told during the rain delay he would come on for starter Kyle Kendrick when play resumed. Hale, who was with the Braves the last two seasons before an offseason trade brought him to the Rockies, was prepared to face his former teammates Friday night.
"Today did not go exactly the way I wanted it to go, but I kind of liked it," he said. "I did all my homework and today was just going over everything. It was a bit of an adrenaline rush relieving today."
Hale (3-4) singled in the second and tweaked his groin scoring on Tulowitzki's sacrifice fly. He faced three batters in the third before exiting.
"I'm not used to running that far," he said. "You just have to wait a little bit and get past that initial soreness. It just feels tight and bruised."
Jace Peterson had two hits and two RBIs, and Chris Johnson had three hits for the Braves.
Jake Brigham (0-1) relieved Atlanta starter Alex Wood after play resumed, and the Rockies jumped on the rookie with three doubles in the first to take a 2-0 lead. Drew Stubbs homered ahead of Tulowitzki's sacrifice fly as Colorado took a 4-0 lead.
Tulowitzki singled in the fourth to reach base for the 36th straight game.
Peterson had a two-run double as part of a three-run fifth to trim the deficit to a run. Colorado got one back on Nick Hundley's RBI double in the bottom of the inning to make it 5-3.
John Axford, Colorado's eighth pitcher, struck out Peterson for his 15th save.
"When David went down we were in a tough spot, but the bullpen was huge tonight," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We had to empty the well pretty much."
The strong storm threatened to take the tarp as the grounds crew tried to lay it across the infield. Hale and a few other Rockies players -- as well as Weiss and first base coach Eric Young -- ran out from the dugout to help secure the tarp along the baselines.
Rain fell throughout the game and only a few fans in the announced crowd of 30,334 stuck around for the end. It was a familiar sight at Coors Field, which has endured 14 weather delays totaling 22 hours, 24 minutes, this season -- not counting four postponements.
Bad weather spoiled Wood's start but he won't have to wait long to pitch again. Fredi Gonzalez said Wood will now start Sunday for the Braves, ensuring he won't lose a turn in the rotation.
"I was pretty surprised that they wanted us to start (Thursday's) game, but that's the way it goes," Wood said. "You've just got to deal with it and move on. I look forward to taking the ball on Sunday."
Carlos Gonzalez struggled to find his form this year after knee surgery ended his 2014 season after 70 games. He said he's feeling stronger and has raised his average to .254 with a solid June and consecutive three-hit games.
"Finally I'm getting my timing back, which was the biggest key for me," he said. "That's what I've been looking for since I had my surgery. The past two years I haven't played a lot of baseball. The more I play the more comfortable I'm going to feel."
Rockies: OF Corey Dickerson (left plantar fasciitis) has started some light running but there's no timetable for his return. He has been on the 15-day DL twice for the injury.
Braves: All-Star RHP Shelby Miller (5-4, 2.07 ERA) is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three starts against the Rockies. He has allowed four earned runs in 17 2-3 innings.
Rockies: Colorado needs to pick a new Friday night starter instead of Hale.