Hot Braves crush Rockies
By GEORGE HENRY
ATLANTA — 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.”
PIRATES 6, CARDS 0
PITTSBURGH — Andrew McCutchen clubbed his 15th homer of the season and the Pittsburgh Pirates completed a doubleheader sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with 6-0 victory.
Brandon Cumpton (1-1) allowed three hits over seven innings to pick up his first major league win. The sweep propelled the Pirates into first place in the NL Central. Pittsburgh is a season-high 22 games over .500 (64-42).
Tyler Lyons (2-4) gave up four runs, three earned, in six innings. The rookie struck out five and walked one, but received no help from a reeling offense. The Cardinals have dropped six straight and have scored five runs in their last 56 innings.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina left in the fourth inning with a right knee strain.
The Pirates took the opener 2-1 in 11 innings when Alex Presley’s sharp grounder deflected off the glove of pitcher Kevin Siegrist and rolled into shallow left field, allowing Pittsburgh’s Russell Martin to score from second.PHILLIES 7, GIANTS 3
PHILADELPHIA — Carlos Ruiz and Michael Young hit two-run homers to back John Lannan, and Philadelphia beat San Francisco to snap an eight-game losing streak.
The Phillies beat the New York Mets 13-8 in their first game after the All-Star break, but scored a total of 14 in the next eight losses to drop out of contention.
The defending World Series champion Giants have lost five in a row and eight of nine. They came off a 3-7 homestand that left them in last place in the NL West.
Lannan (3-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings.
Barry Zito (4-8) gave up four runs and five hits in 3 1-3 innings. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner is 0-7 with a 9.97 ERA on the road.
METS 4, MARLINS 2 (10)
MIAMI — Marlins reliever Chad Qualls took a tumble after escaping late trouble, but Miami stumbled in the 10th inning when John Buck hit a tiebreaking two-run single that lifted New York to victory.
Zack Wheeler took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Juan Lagares had three hits and two RBIs for the Mets.
Donovan Solano and Jake Marisnick had consecutive RBI singles after Ed Lucas got Miami’s first hit with one out in the seventh to tie it 2-all.
Scott Atchison (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the victory and Bobby Parnell pitched the 10th for his 22nd save in 26 opportunities.
Steve Cishek (3-6) allowed two runs and three hits in two innings.
BREWERS 6, CUBS 5
BREWERS 3, CUBS 2
CHICAGO — Jeff Bianchi delivered a two-run single off shortstop Starlin Castro’s glove with two out in the ninth to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs and a day-night doubleheader sweep on Tuesday.
The Brewers pulled out the nightcap after a 6-5 victory in which they lost starter Yovani Gallardo to a tight left hamstring.
In the second game, they got six scoreless innings from Tyler Thornburg and a leadoff homer from Juan Francisco in the fifth. But they had to rally after David DeJesus delivered a two-run double off Burke Badenhop following a pair of errors in the seventh.
Chicago took a 2-1 lead to the ninth, but closer Kevin Gregg (2-3) couldn’t hold it.
ORIOLES 4, ASTROS 3
BALTIMORE — Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 38th home run, a two-run shot in the sixth inning that gave the Baltimore Orioles their first lead in a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros.
Davis had gone 10 straight games without a long ball until connecting off Lucas Harrell (5-11). Earlier, Davis extended his run of games with a strikeout to 23, the longest streak in team history.
The slumping slugger came in with a .205 batting average since the All-Star break and hadn’t hit a home run since July 14. The drive off Harrell was his first extra-base hit in seven games.
J.J. Hardy hit a two-run single in the fourth inning to start Baltimore’s comeback from a three-run deficit. The Orioles got only three hits in winning for the second time in seven games.
Wei-Yin Chen (6-3) allowed three runs, seven hits and a walk in 7 1-3 innings for his fourth straight win. The left-hander had a season-high nine strikeouts.
Darren O’Day got two outs in the eighth and Jim Johnson worked a perfect ninth for his 36th save.
RED SOX 8
BOSTON — Rookie Brandon Workman struck out nine while picking up his first major league win, allowing one run over six innings as Boston beat Seattle.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia homered in the second, giving Workman a cushy 5-1 lead that the young right-hander never squandered in just his third start in the big leagues. He allowed six hits, three of them in the sixth when Seattle loaded the bases with one out before Workman (1-1) ended the threat with back-to-back strikeouts.
Joe Saunders (9-10) allowed six runs over five innings for Seattle, including two in the first as the Mariners set themselves back with an error and a passed ball.
WHITE SOX 4
CLEVELAND — Pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn hit a two-run single in the eighth inning as Cleveland beat freefaling Chicago to win its sixth straight.
The Indians stayed within 2 1-2 games of first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
Cleveland was in danger of losing to Brazilian rookie Andre Rienzo in his debut before coming back against Donnie Veal (1-2), who started the eighth. Rienzo, the first Brazilian-born player to pitch in the major leagues, did not allow an earned run and only five hits in seven innings.
Bryan Shaw (2-2) got one out in the eighth and closer Chris Perez worked the ninth for his 15th save — and ninth straight.
TIGERS 5, NATIONALS 1
DETROIT— Alex Avila hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the sixth inning off Stephen Strasburg to lead Detroit past Washington.
Anibal Sanchez (9-7) gave up one run, five hits and two walks over seven innings for Detroit. Jose Veras, a day after being acquired from Houston, was perfect in the eighth in his Tigers debut. Joaquin Benoit, who will keep his job as the team’s closer, gave up one hit in the ninth inning.
Strasburg (5-9) allowed five runs, six hits and three walks while striking out seven over seven innings. Strasburg is winless in his last four starts and has given up at least four earned runs in three of his last five outings.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Roberto Hernandez came within one out of a complete-game shutout, and Yunel Escobar and Ben Zobrist drove in two runs each as Tampa Bay beat Arizona.
The Rays maintained their half-game lead over Boston in the AL East.
Hernandez (6-11) opened the game by hitting Gerardo Parra with a pitch and giving up a single to Aaron Hill. He then retired 22 of the next 25 batters before Parra singled leading off the ninth. Eric Chavez ended Hernandez’s shutout bid with a two-out home run.
Ian Kennedy (3-8) gave up six hits and three runs while striking out seven in five innings for Arizona. Kennedy, still seeking his 50th career victory, has not won since June 1.
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