ATLANTA (AP) — Juan Nicasio hoped he had put his troubles behind him after three solid turns in Colorado’s rotation.
One outing against the Atlanta Braves showed Nicasio that he still has plenty of work to do.
“I’m feeling good, but it was a bad day,” Nicasio said. “It was a bad game. I’m working hard for next time. I need to win. I need to win. I love the game. It’s hard.”
Nicasio gave up a season-high eight runs and Atlanta scored six runs in an inning for the second straight night in the Rockies’ 11-3 loss Tuesday.
Colorado has lost two straight and six of nine.
Freddie Freeman hit two homers and Brian McCann added a three-run shot to help the Braves win their fifth straight game and improve their record at home to 36-15, best in the majors.
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 lead.
Nicasio (6-5) gave up 10 hits, walked four and struck out four in four innings.
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.
“I didn’t have command of my fastball, so I threw my breaking ball, but it was hanging,” Nicasio said. “The pitches were up in the zone. I think I was a little too quick with my breaking ball.”
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.
“We’ve just got to all work together,” center fielder Dexter Fowler said. “Sometimes our pitching’s good, sometimes our hitting’s not so good and vice versa. We faced a good team, they swing the bats and they got timely hits.”
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.
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.
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.”
NOTES: Colorado LHP Jeff Francis allowed three hits and two runs in 2 1-3 innings. It was Francis’ second relief appearance in 217 career games and first since Oct. 3, 2010 against St. Louis. … Rockies manager Walt Weiss said he still hasn’t decided who will start the series finale on Thursday opposite Atlanta RHP Julio Teheran. … Rookie OF Todd Cunningham, a top Braves prospect, was cheered loudly after singling in the seventh in his first major league at-bat. Cunningham’s contract was purchased earlier in the day from Triple-A Gwinnett when OF Reed Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left heel tendinitis. Cunningham stayed in the game and replaced Gattis in left field.
By George Henry, AP Sports Writer (© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)