Atlanta’s bats beat Colorado
Published 12:01 am Friday, July 22, 2011
DENVER (AP) — Brooks Conrad made the most of a rare start.
Conrad, playing for the injured Dan Uggla, homered, scored twice and used his speed on the basepaths to help the Atlanta Braves overcome a shaky start by Tommy Hanson to beat the Colorado Rockies 9-6 Thursday.
“You get him in there because Danny can’t go and he comes up with a big homer,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s a helluva teammate; guys love him. He’s a pro. Great to have him.”
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The switch-hitting Conrad hadn’t started a game since July 4 against Colorado but didn’t show any rust. He broke up a double play in the third that led to one run and he broke up a double play in the fifth that helped the Braves score another.
“That’s Brooksie, man. That’s him,” Jason Heyward said. “That’s why we love him around here and we pull for him.”
Heyward and Freddie Freeman each homered and had two hits and Nate McLouth had two hits for Atlanta, which earned a split of the four-game series.
Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 30th save.
“I’m beat after this game and yesterday’s game,” Gonzalez said. “They’re fun at the end of the night but it could have gone either way. Get on the bird before they ask us to play another game.”
Carlos Gonzalez homered for the Rockies before leaving in the fifth inning with a right wrist injury while swinging — he fouled the ball off. He was taken to for an MRI. It’s the same wrist on which he sustained a deep bone bruise after running into the center-field wall on July 3. He missed eight games.
“He obviously felt something,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “He took a swing and started coming over towards us in a hurry. I have no idea what were dealing with other than the fact that it’s the wrist that we just rehabbed.”
Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin struggled for the second straight game, allowing five runs on four hits and walking seven in 4 2-3 innings.
Hanson (11-5) also struggled but received enough run support to get the win. He allowed six runs on seven hits and struck out seven in six innings.
“It seems like my pitches did what they wanted to do,” Hanson said. “If they felt like breaking they broke; if they didn’t they stayed straight. Glad to get out of this one and glad we won.”
Trailing 6-5, the Braves took the lead for good against Matt Reynolds (0-2) in the seventh. Conrad tied it with a one-out homer, his fourth, Alex Gonzalez doubled and McLouth tripled to make it 7-6.
It was Conrad’s first hit right-handed in nine at-bats this season.
“Down one and looking to get a pitch to drive, got into a hitter’s count and put a good swing on it,” he said.
Matt Lindstrom relieved Reynolds and McLouth scored on pinch-hitter Wilkin Ramirez’s fielder’s choice. Ramirez scored on Heyman’s double down the right-field line to make it 9-6.
The Rockies took the early lead when Gonzalez led off the bottom of the first with his 15th homer of the season. They made it 4-0 in the second when Dexter Fowler hit a two-run triple and stole home on a missed suicide squeeze attempt by Chacin.
The Braves got back into the game by capitalizing on Chacin’s lack of control. Martin Prado led off the third with a walk and Heyward followed with his 10th homer of the season. Freeman singled, Chacin walked Eric Hinske and Conrad to load the bases, and Freeman scored on Gonzalez’s groundout to make it 4-3.
The Braves chased Chacin in the fifth. Freeman tied the game with his 15th homer with one out, Hinske walked and Conrad reached on a fielder’s choice. After Gonzalez walked, McLouth singled off reliever Matt Belisle to make it 5-4.
“I think that was the worst start I’ve had in my career,” Chacin said. “I couldn’t throw anything over the plate.”
The Rockies went ahead 6-5 in the sixth when Seth Smith drove in Troy Tulowitzki with a triple and came in on Chris Iannetta’s sacrifice fly.