Atlanta’s Mike Minor had an absolutely horrible night, allowing 8 runs and 10 hits, along with 4 walks in five innings. Colorado struck him hard in the first, when he sandwiched walks to Dexter Fowler and Todd Helton around a Carlos Gonzalez single, then gave-up a grand slam to Michael Cuddyer. In the second Minor gave-up singles to Jamie Moyer and Marco Scutaro, then Gonzalez doubled to give the Rockies a 6-0 lead. Yet the young left-hander escaped with a no-decision as the Rockies blew a significant early-inning lead for the second consecutive night.
In the top of the third Colorado gave one back thanks to sloppy defense by super-stars Troy Tulowitzski and Gonzalez, then in the fifth Atlanta got to Colorado starter Jamie Moyer for two more on Minor and Brian McCann singles sandwiched around a Chipper Jones double. Jones, who will play his final game at Coors Field tomorrow afternoon, went 3-6 with five RBI after going 3-5 with two on Friday night. But Colorado was not fazed, and catcher Wilin Rosario delivered a two-run shot in the bottom of the inning to put the Rockies back up 8-3.
The Braves however had by the sixth caught-on to Moyer’s act, and Matt Diaz and Jason Heyward delivered back-to-back solo shots to open the inning. Tyler Pastornicky then lined a hard single in front of Cuddyer in right, ending the night for Moyer. Esmil Rogers came-on and was an unblemished disaster. The right-hander had command of none of his pitches, walking the first batter he faced, Juan Francisco, then allowing singles to Michael Bourn and Jones, driving-in Pastornicky and Francisco. On a 1-1 count to Freddie Freeman Rogers wild-pitched, Bourn and Jones moving-up a base each. Colorado catcher Rosario blocked pitches to his left. He blocked pitches to his right. He blocked one back to his left again. To his right. Freeman grounded-out and Bourn scored, Jones to third. It was 8-8.
With Rockies’ manager Jim Tracy short of relievers, Rogers came back to start the seventh, giving-up a single to Matt Diaz to lead-off the inning. Jason Heyward then sent a towering blast down the right-field line that was ruled-foul, prompting the first official video-review in Rockies history. The call stood, but four pitches later Heyward was at first on Rogers’ third walk. With Pastornicky at the plate Rogers attempted to pick-off Diaz at second-base, but Tulowitzski declined to cover, moving Diaz to third and Heyward to second. Pastornicky then lined a shot foul into the first-base stands, where a spectator was struck in the head. Play was delayed as medical personnel tended to the woman, then Pastornicky grounded-out to Scutaro. Rogers, appetite apparently whetted by the off-field calamity, promptly drilled pinch-hitter Martin Prado in the back with his next pitch to load the bases. Rex Brothers relieved Rogers and walked center-fielder Bourn, giving Atlanta its first lead. Jones singled, driving-in Heyward and Prado, and Bourn scored on a sacrifice fly from Freeman. 12-8 Braves.
Colorado got a run-back in the bottom of the inning on Rosario’s second homer of the night, then mid-way through the Rockies’ eighth the game was delayed 69 minutes when a hard rain-storm swept into the Lodo area. When play resumed Atlanta brought-on the immortal Livan Hernandez, who induced Helton to ground into an inning-ending double-play with Gonzalez and Tulowitzski on base. Atlanta added a run in the top of the ninth when Bourn drove a moon-shot to center that Tyler Colvin muffed on the warning track, scoring Prado, who had opened the inning with a walk from Edgmer Escalona. Hernandez set Colorado down 1-2-3 in the ninth and earned the save.
Rockies’ manager Tracy called the team’s performance its worst of the season, and labelled the pitching “unacceptable.” Rogers rightfully took the loss, returning to action after a rest day following several gritty performances earlier in the week. Rogers continues to confound, unhittable some nights, combustible on others.
Colorado will try to salvage the series finale tomorrow, sending Juan Nicasio to the mound to oppose Atlanta’s Brandon Beachy. First pitch is at 1:10 pm. TV on Root, radio 850 KOA.
MINOR V MOYER IN MIDDLE MATCH-UPC
Colorado Aims to Even Series
24 year-old Mike Minor makes his 28th career start tonight for the Atlanta Braves, 6:10 pm at Coors Field, his first against the Colorado Rockies. Minor will be making his sixth start of 2012. He stands 2-2 with a 4.62 ERA in 32 2/3 innings pitched. Colorado’s Jamie Moyer on the other hand makes his 634th MLB start in the match-up, also his sixth of 2012. Moyer stands 1-2 with a 3.14 ERA in 28 2/3 innings pitched. Atlanta rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky completed high school at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida just prior to the enrollment of Moyer’s eldest son Dylan at the school.
The Rockies will be looking to even the three game set with the Braves at 1-1 after falling in 11 innings to Atlanta on Friday evening. Colorado starter Guillermo Moscoso was unable to preserve a 5-0 first inning Rockies advantage and was optioned by the club back to AAA affiliate Colorado Springs after the loss. Right-hander Adam Ottavino was recalled to take Moscoso’s roster spot, and infielder/catcher Jordan Pacheco was recalled to replace Eric Young, Jr, who has been placed on the bereavement list. Pacheco, who started the season in Denver, has been ripping it up in Colorado Springs since his April 15 demotion, hitting .433 with four doubles, three homers and 10 RBI in 17 games.
The teams face-off on Cinco de Mayo following the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, where trainer Doug O’Neill’s I’ll Have Another ($32.60, $13.80, $9.00) of Reddam Racing and Owner J. Paul Reddam, with Mario Gutierrez up, triumphed over Bodemeister ($6.20, $5.60) and Dullahan ($7.20) in perfect conditions at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. The line-ups:
Atlanta (15-11) Colorado (12-13)
CF Michael Bourn 2B Marco Scutaro
3B Chipper Jones CF Dexter Fowler
1B Freddie Freeman LF Carlos Gonzalez
C Brian McCann SS Troy Tulowitzski
2B Dan Uggla 1B Todd Helton
LF Matt Diaz RF Michael Cuddyer
RF Jayson Heyward C Wilin Rosario
SS Tyler Pastornicky 3B Chris Nelson
P Mike Minor P Jamie Moyer