ATLANTA (AP) — The Rockies could consider placing outfielder Carlos Gonzalez on the disabled list after he aggravated his sprained right middle finger.
Losing Gonzalez would be a big blow to a Colorado lineup that was overwhelmed by Mike Minor and the Braves in a 9-0 loss Wednesday night.
Minor allowed only two hits in seven scoreless innings and Brian McCann hit a three-run homer in Atlanta’s seven-run third.
Gonzalez left the game in the fourth inning. He aggravated the sprained finger on a swing in the first.
Manager Walt Weiss said the disabled list was a possibility for Gonzalez.
“I think it’s worth having a discussion,” Weiss said. “I think he got it pretty good, too. It didn’t look good. It’s the same thing.
“We’ve talked about it; he’s probably going to be dealing with this for a little while. We’ll have to re-evaluate where he’s at.”
Gonzalez’s injury affects his ability to grip the bat. He lost the bat on his follow-through while striking out to end the first. The bat hit catcher McCann’s shoulder.
The Braves have scored at least six runs in one inning while winning the first three games of the four-game series. Atlanta has scored 29 runs in the three wins.
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said it was frustrating to lose the last two games by a combined margin of 20-3.
“These last two games have just been bad,” Tulowitzki said. “We got our butts kicked.”
While the Rockies have struggled, the Braves, who had 15 hits, keep coming up with big innings.
“I can’t remember a time ever in my career three games in a row they scored, what, six-plus runs?” Tulowitzki asked. “Six in two games, seven tonight? In one inning?
“Putting together hit after hit. … A little bit of everything. It’s a tough series.”
Tyler Chatwood (7-4) allowed a career-high seven earned runs on 10 hits, one walk and one hit batter in only 2 1-3 innings.
“I fell behind and they hit some balls good,” Chatwood said. “You can’t fall behind hot teams like that.”
Weiss said Chatwood was just the latest Colorado starter to struggle “getting balls up in the middle of the plate.”
Weiss said Atlanta’s batters “aren’t missing anything that’s in the middle of the plate. … I think it’s been the same thing three nights in a row.”
It was a rare poor outing by Chatwood, who was coming off back-to-back wins.
“I felt good about having Chatty out there tonight, the way he competes,” Weiss said. “He’s throwing the ball good.”
Freddie Freeman drove in two runs with four hits and Justin Upton had three hits.
“We’re clicking on all cylinders,” Freeman said.
Atlanta is threatening to run away with the NL East. The Braves lead second-place Washington by 11 games in the division, their biggest advantage in nine years.
Minor (11-5) didn’t walk a batter and didn’t allow a Colorado baserunner to reach second base.
Dexter Fowler led off the game with a single up the middle and was thrown out by McCann attempting to steal second. That was the only baserunner Minor allowed until Nolan Arenado’s single with two outs in the fifth.
Minor, coming off a strong outing in a win over the Cardinals on Friday night, has given up two or fewer runs in five straight starts. He threw 95 pitches, 70 for strikes.
Freeman’s single in the first inning drove in Jason Heyward, who reached on second baseman Charlie Culberson’s fielding error.
The Braves’ first six batters reached base in the third inning. Freeman and Evan Gattis had run-scoring singles before McCann’s 15th homer pushed the lead to 6-0. Minor’s RBI single knocked Chatwood out of the game.
Freeman singled and scored on Chris Johnson’s single off Adam Outman in the fourth.
Gonzalez, who throws left-handed, threw out Dan Uggla at the plate from left field in the second inning as Uggla tried to score from second on Andrelton Simmons’ single. TV replays indicated catcher Yorvit Torrealba may have missed Uggla on his swipe tag, and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez came out for a brief exchange with home-plate umpire Marty Foster.
DJ LeMahieu pinch hit for Gonzalez in the fourth inning.
There was a delay in the seventh after Rockies right-hander Wilton Lopez hit Simmons with a pitch. The ball glanced off Simmons’ chest and then squarely hit Foster’s left forearm. Foster left the game after he was examined by Braves assistant trainer Jim Lovell. X-rays were negative.
Umpire Marvin Hudson moved from first base to take over at home.
Luis Ayala pitched the final two innings and stranded two baserunners in the ninth.
By Charles Obum, AP Sports Writer (© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)