DENVER (AP) – Andrelton Simmons hit his first career grand slam as part of a seven-run first inning, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 13-10 on Tuesday night.
The teams combined for 29 hits and neither starter made it out of the fifth inning. Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio lasted just 3 2-3 innings and Atlanta’s Mike Minor left after giving up two hits to start the fifth.
David Hale (2-0) pitched 2 1-3 innings of relief for the win.
The Rockies trailed 13-9 when reliever Jordan Waldenwalked the bases loaded with no outs in the eighth. One out later Shae Simmons came on and allowed a sacrifice fly by Justin Morneau but then struck out Josh Rutledge to end the threat.
Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for his 18th save in 21 chances.
Nicasio had a scary moment when he deflected a line drive by Justin Upton with his glove in the bottom of the first.
Nicasio fractured his neck and sustained a concussion when he was hit in the head by a line drive on Aug. 5, 2011. He missed the rest of his rookie season.
Wilin Rosario homered and Rutledge had three hits for Colorado, which has lost 10 of 11 and 15 of 18 to fall six games below .500.
The Braves jumped on Nicasio right away. Jayson Heyward doubled then B.J. Upton tripled and scored on a groundout. Four straight singles made it 3-0 and loaded the bases for Simmons, who went deep to center to make it 7-0.
Atlanta sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning, and Colorado nearly matched it in the bottom of the frame.
The Rockies scored three times on Rosario’s single, Morneau’s sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk to DJ LeMahieu.
Minor walked three batters and hit another and needed 38 pitches to get out of the first with a 7-3 lead.
He gave his team an 8-3 lead with an RBI single in the third but then allowed two more runs in the bottom of the inning, including a run-scoring single to Nicasio.
It wasn’t enough for the right-hander, who left in the fourth after solo homers by Freeman and Gattis.
Nicasio (5-5) allowed 10 runs and 11 hits. He has given up at least five runs and nine hits in his last three starts. His ERA has risen from 3.60 to 5.70 in the three outings, all losses.
Atlanta scored three times off reliever Chad Bettis in the sixth to make it 13-8.
NOTES: Justin Upton left the game in the first inning with a strained left hamstring. He is day to day. … Gattis extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the first inning. … Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez had a small tumor removed from his left index finger. The procedure was performed in Cleveland. … The Braves activated Walden from the 15-day DL and optioned LHP Alex Wood to Triple-A Gwinnett. … Atlanta RHP Julio Teheran (6-3, 1.89) will face LHP Tyler Matzek, who will make his major league debut for the Rockies on Wednesday night.
– By MICHAEL KELLY, Associated Press
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