When the Braves set out for Colorado for a four-game set with the Rockies beginning Monday, they needed just one win to secure the season series.
After winning the first game, 7-4, the Braves nailed down the season series with the Rockies before dropping the next two, 12-3 and 3-2.
Leading the charge in Monday’s opener was Freddie Freeman, who continued his hot hitting against the Rockies pitching staff, going 3-for-5 with a home run and 3 RBI’s. It was the rookies fifth home run in as many games against the Rockies.
The Braves built a 7-1 lead before watching the Rockies make things a little interesting, scoring three runs in the bottom of the 7th.
But that was all the Rockies got, as Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel locked down the 8th and 9th innings, as Kimbrel earned his 29th save of the season. Derek Lowe got the win, his 6th of the year, going 6 1/3 innings and giving up 4 runs on 8 hits before handing the ball over to the bullpen.
Martin Prado and Brian McCann went 2-for-5, Eric Hinske went 2-for-3 with a home run and Dan Uggla continued his hitting streak, making it 10 straight games the second baseman has hit safely in.
With the series win already nailed down, the Braves needed one win over the next three games to earn a tie of the current series.
But the Rockies quickly doused that idea, putting up 5 runs in the first two innings against Brandon Beachy in Tuesday’s 12-3 win.
Uggla continued his hot streak, extending his hitting streak to 11 straight games with two home runs off Rockie starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
Prado and McCann each added another two-hit game, but the rest of the Braves lineup managed just three hits (Schafer, Freeman and Beachy). Beachy was pulled after 4 2/3 innings of work, giving up 6 runs on 9 hits while only striking out 3. The rookie walked 5 batters before handing the ball over to the bullpen, which did not fare much better.
Cory Gearrin pitched one inning, giving up 4 runs on 2 hits and walking four before Scott Proctor gave up 2 runs on 3 hits in 1 1/3 innings of work. Scott Linebrink needed just 7 pitches to retire the Rockies in his only inning of work.
With Tim Hudson toeing the slab Wednesday night, the Braves had a chance to grab that win they were looking for to at least earn a tie of the series.
Even with Hudson on the mound, the Rockies put a few runs on the board in the bottom of the first, building an early 2-0 lead thanks in part to a Todd Helton two-run homer.
The Braves cut the deficit in half in the top of the 2nd after David Ross’ double scored Jason Heyward, and both teams remained silent until the top of the 8th, when the Braves tied the game up.
This time, Schafer led off with a single and stole second before scoring on Uggla’s RBI single, knotting the game at 2. With the single, Uggla extended his hitting streak to 12, tying a career high.
But the Braves defense handcuffed any chance of winning the game when Prado was unable to field a two-out ground ball cleanly. After Eric O’Flaherty intentionally walked Ty Wigginton to bring up Carlos Gonzalez, the situation did not work out the way the Braves intended, as CarGo ended the game with a single to right, scoring Fowler from second and giving the Rockies a 3-2 win.
Hudson went 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits while fanning 5. Venters pitched a scoreless 8th before O’Flaherty came in for the 9th.
With Tommy Hanson on the mound for the finale, the Braves were looking to snag a win before heading to Cincinnati for a weekend series with the Reds.
The Rockies quickly jumped on the Braves and Hanson, as CarGo hit a leadoff home run before Fowler’s three-run triple in the bottom of the second, giving the Braves a four-run deficit.
But the Braves came right back, chipping away at the Rockies lead after Heyward’s two-run homer put the Braves on the board. They added a third run after Alex Gonzalez beat out a possible inning-ending double play, scoring Freeman from third.
The Braves were not done there, as Freeman tied the game up at 4 with a solo shot in the top of the 5th, his 15th of the year and sixth in eight games against the Rockies. After chasing starter Jhoulys Chacin, the Braves added another run, taking a 5-4 lead on Nate McLouth’s RBI single.
Colorado took a short-lived 6-5 lead in the bottom of the 6th, but again, the Braves answered right back, this time thanks to Brooks Conrad.
Batting from the right side, Conrad hit a one-out solo shot, tying the game at 6. Conrad’s home run was the first of three straight extra base hits for the Braves, as Gonzalez doubled before McLouth tripled, giving the Braves a 7-6 lead.
The Braves added two more runs in the frame, the first when McLouth scored on a fielder’s choice before Heyward’s double scored Wilkin Ramirez, giving the Braves a 9-6 lead.
Linebrink, Venters and Kimbrel locked down the 7th, 8th and 9th innings to seal the Braves victory, splitting the series two games apiece as Hanson earned his 11th win and Kimbrel his 30th save, tying Kerry Lightenberg’s record that stood since 1998.
Hanson went 6 innings, giving up 6 runs on 7 hits while fanning 7.
Now, the Braves head to Cincinnati to take on the Reds for a three-game set beginning Friday night.