The Colorado Rockies are ready to hit the road after ending a disappointing homestand with a 7-2 loss against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
The Rockies went 3-6 on a homestand against New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, and the Braves’ series sweep left the Rockies a season-high three games below .500.
The Rockies also matched their longest losing streak of the season, having dropped three in a row April 7-9. The Rockies fell to 8-10 on home and Monday begin an eight-game trip to San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“It’s really important for us to go out and get our situation straightened out from a starting pitching standpoint and play well on the road in three cities within our own division,” manager Jim Tracy said.
Juan Nicasio (2-1) pitched five innings, leaving after facing four batters in the sixth. The Rockies starters worked a total of just 14 1/3 innings in the losses to the Braves.
The Rockies haven’t had a starter go seven innings since Jeremy Guthrie, now on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain, did it April 22.
In the interim, the Rockies have had a starter pitch into the seventh in three of 12 games and pitch five or fewer innings eight times.
“(We need to) keep battling, give it everything we got,” shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. “Continue to swing the bats and hopefully get some good pitching. That’s all we can really do at this point in time.”
Brandon Beachy (3-1) limited the Rockies to four singles and two runs in 6 1/3 innings before Cristhian Martinez worked the final 2 2/3 innings, retiring the eight batters he faced to earn his first career save.
Beachy got nine outs on fly balls, two of them very deep and two others that required nice catches from center fielder Michael Bourn and right fielder Jason Heyward. Allowing the ball to be hit in the air at Coors Field can lead to trouble, but Beachy left with just a slight rise in his ERA from 1.38 to 1.62.
“We swung the bats decent today,” Tulowitzki said. “We hit into a lot of hard outs. We put a rally together late, just didn’t get that big hit. He’s done a good job. Obviously, his numbers speak for themselves. He’s solid.”
Freeman hit two homers in the series and save for Turner Field, his home ballpark, has more homers at Coors Field than anywhere else. His numbers there: a .394 average with four homers, 11 RBIs and his first career triple.
That hit led off the sixth, when Dan Uggla, who homered in the eighth off Matt Reynolds, followed with a single before Nicasio gave up a walk and a run-scoring single to Juan Francisco, the final batter Nicasio faced.
Adam Ottavino relieved Nicasio and threw two scoreless innings in his Rockies debut. Tracy said Ottavino “had good life on his fastball, and his breaking ball had very good tilt. He threw some very good sliders.”
After Ramon Hernandez singled off the wall in right in the second, Beachy retired 14 consecutive batters before Tulowtizki led off the seventh with a single. Jason Giambi‘s tapper to Beachy moved Tulowitzki to second. He took third on Beachy’s wild pitch and scored when Michael Cuddyer grounded a single to right.
Another single and a walk loaded the bases and finished Beachy. Martinez came on and got pinch hitter Tyler Colvin into a run-scoring fielder’s choice and ended the inning by getting Marco Scutaro to ground out with runners on first and third.
The Rockies led Friday’s game 5-0 after the first inning but lost 9-8 in 11 innings. They led 6-0 after two innings Saturday but lost 13-9. The Braves gave Beachy a 4-0 lead after four innings, and it was more than enough.
“He took advantage of them getting a lead, and he did what we didn’t do from a starting pitching standpoint in the first two games of the series,” Tracy said. “He settled in and he pounded the strike zone and he made pitches and he limited the number of outs that we had left.”
Notes: Tracy has yet to announce his starters Tuesday and Wednesday at San Diego. He did say RHP Carlos Torres would be a candidate for one of those games. He made his Rockies debut with one perfect inning Saturday and would have continued had the game not been delayed 69 minutes by rain. … Guthrie (right shoulder strain) threw a 45-pitch bullpen session and said he was “letting it go” and felt fine. Guthrie will throw live batting practice Tuesday in San Diego. … The Braves last swept the Rockies Sept. 9-11, 2008, at Turner Field and last swept them at Coors Field on Aug. 22-24, 2003. … Drew Pomeranz will start for the Rockies on Monday at San Diego against Edinson Volquez. Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson will start Monday at Chicago against Jeff Samardzija.
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