Gonzalez homers to lead Rockies over Braves 5-3
DENVER (AP) A hastily constructed group filled in admirably to help the Colorado Rockies' rotation handle an injury-caused gap.
Carlos Gonzalez homered and Colorado leaned on a pitcher by committee approach that featured two newcomers in a 5-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
Daniel Descalso had a run-scoring triple to break a career-long 0-for-20 skid, and Nolan Arenado and D.J. LeMahieu added RBI doubles for the Rockies, who have won their last four games against the Braves, their longest streak ever against Atlanta.
Kelly Johnson of the Braves connected for his ninth homer, a three-run shot in the sixth inning and Cameron Maybin singled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to a career-high tying 10 games.
Gonzalez Germen, claimed off waivers from the Chicago Cubs earlier this week, was added to the big league roster and made his first major league start in place of injured David Hale. On a 45-pitch limit, Germen was lifted after three scoreless innings in favor of Aaron Laffey, whose contract was selected earlier in the day by the Rockies from their Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque.
Laffey (1-0) went 2 1-3 innings, allowing four hits and three runs, all on Johnson's homer. John Axford, the last of the Rockies' six pitchers, got three outs for his 16th save in 17 chances.
''It was awesome,'' Carlos Gonzalez said. ''Germen just showed up today, didn't even get to say `Hi,' to anybody. He threw three really great innings and gave us a chance. Our bullpen did really good, and Laffey, too. The home run, it was a good pitch away Kelly Johnson was able to stay back and hit it to left. Whenever that happens you just have to tip your cap. But everybody else showed up and we shut them down.''
Shelby Miller (5-5), the Braves' lone NL All-Star, lost a career-high fourth straight decision. He allowed five runs, matching a season-high, 11 hits and struck out seven. He remains winless in his last 10 starts despite a 3.31 ERA in that span and entered with an overall ERA of 2.07, which was third-lowest in the majors.
''This is the worst my fastball command has been all year. It's not even close,'' Miller said. ''My ratio of good fastballs was 50-50. I probably threw more balls with my fastball. I didn't get ahead in the count. Just left balls over the middle of the plate. Everything was up. Just a terrible day.''
Descalso's RBI triple triggered a three-run fourth inning. Brandon Barnes followed with a single, and then was caught stealing, Charlie Blackmon tripled and scored on LeMahieu's double which hit the warning track and bounced into the stands.
Leading off the fifth, Gonzalez jumped on the first pitch he saw from Miller, and drove it to straightaway center into the evergreeens beyond the wall for his 12th home run.
''It was away, it was one of those little CarGo reaches,'' Gonzalez said. ''When things go good, I can cover a lot of the plate, so I was able to put the barrel on the ball and drive it to centerfield.''
Braves: LHP Josh Outman, on the 60-day DL with thoracic outlet syndrome, allowed one hit in one inning with a strikeout in his first minor league rehab outing for the Gulf Coast Braves. The disorder stems from compression of blood vessels or nerves in the cavity between the collarbone and the top rib, which can lead to shoulder pain and finger numbness.
Rockies: RHP David Hale pitched 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief Thursday against Atlanta before leaving with a left groin strain.
Braves: Rookie RHP Matt Wisler (3-1) helped snap Milwaukee's eight-game winning streak in his last start and will look to cool off the Rockies on Saturday as the teams continue a four-game series.
Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (6-3) is 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA over his last seven starts despite dealing with a small cut on the middle finger of his pitching hand for much of that time.