Braves Drop Final Game Before All-Star Break

BravesCharlie Blackmon drove in four runs and All-Star Troy Tulowitzki cracked a three-run homer as the Rockies beat the Braves, 11-3, on Sunday at Coors Field. The Rockies completed a four-game sweep — their first home sweep this season.

Blackmon delivered a two-run, bases-loaded single in the second and another two-run single in the sixth — both in left-on-left confrontations with losing pitcher Alex Wood (6-6). Tulowitzki followed Blackmon’s sixth-inning single with his 10th homer this season. Drew Stubbs added his fifth homer — a two-run shot — in the eighth off David Carpenter.

“We’ll try to get hot, stay hot,” said Tulowitzki, who will join third baseman Nolan Arenado and second baseman DJ LeMahieu in Tuesday’s All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile in Cincinnati. “We haven’t gone on quite a streak yet. This could be the start of something.”
The hit in the sixth broke a 3-3 tie and made a winner of Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis (5-4). Coming off his worst career start (10 runs, eight hits in 2 1/3 innings against the Angels), Bettis went six innings and gave up three runs — on RBI singles by Kelly Johnson and A.J. Pierzynski and an RBI double by Jonny Gomes, all in the sixth — on six hits. Bettis struck out eight and walked five.

“We just didn’t pitch very well or play very well for four days,” Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. ” After the way we played in Milwaukee for the first two days and then to come in here and play like that, it’s baseball.”
Blackmon, whose tie-breaking single came with two outs and a 1-2 count, went 9-for-18 (.500) during the just-completed 4-2 homestand. Since June 13, Blackmon is hitting .336 (36-for-107).

After Gomes highlighted Atlanta’s three-run sixth with a game-tying double, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez elected to allow Wood to hit with one out and the bases loaded. Wood struck out and then surrendered three hits, including Blackmon’s two-run single in the bottom half of the inning. The Atlanta lefty allowed 10 hits for the third time in his past four starts and was charged with a career-high seven earned runs over 5 2/3 innings.

Bettis struggled with his delivery in his last two starts, but despite the walks (one was intentional), was better Sunday. But he was at his best when the game nearly slipped away in the sixth. But after Gomes’ one-out double tied the game, Bettis intentionally walked Andrelton Simmons, fanned Wood, and forced Jace Peterson into a grounder to short.
“I wasn’t ready to hand the ball over,” Bettis said. “I needed to make pitches. I knew they weren’t necessarily hitting them too well except for Gomes. I knew I had them right where I wanted.”

The Braves, who have lost five straight, tallied runs in just five of the 36 innings they batted during this four-game series. They had a chance to set the tone on Sunday when Eury Perez doubled in the first inning and Nick Markakis followed with a one-out walk. But Bettis escaped by recording consecutive strikeouts of Johnson and Juan Uribe.

Julio Teheran will take the mound when the Braves come out of the All-Star break on Friday to begin a three-game series against the Cubs at Turner Field. Teheran endured a rough first half, but he went 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA in eight home starts.  First pitch is set for 6:35 PM and you will be able to hear that broadcast here on Thunder Radio.