Thursday afternoon's game against the Colorado Rockies was a big one. The club had lost consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month and they had lost the ground they had previously gained on the Phillies over the last two weeks. Thankfully, the offense showed up on a day Tommy Hanson did not.
Hanson had solid command of his pitches -- he struck out seven and only walked one -- but gave up six runs on seven hits. Carlos Gonzalez led off the game with a solo-home run off the righty and Dexter Fowler's 2-run triple off the right field wall did most of the damage early on. For as much as Hanson struggled, though, Scott Linebrink, Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel were all dominant while closing out the ball game.
What undid Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin were the seven walks he allowed in just 4.2 innings. He gave up just four hits, but the base paths were always filled with the free passes he gave to the Atlanta hitters. Chacin tossed 113 pitches in his outing before giving way to the Rockies bullpen.
Atlanta trailed 4-0 after two innings, but they wouldn't be held down for long. Heyward hit a 2-run homer that bounced off the top of the wall and into the bullpen to cut the lead in half. Freddie Freeman continued his dominance of the Rockies in the fifth with a game-tying homer after Alex Gonzalez drove in a run on a force out. With the score tied, Nate McLouth singled to give Atlanta their first lead of the game.
The Rockies battled back to take a 6-5 lead, but that was all they would score. The Braves scored four runs in the seventh inning on a Brooks Conrad homer, Nate McLouth triple, Wilkin Ramirez fielders choice that featured a great slide at home plate by McLouth to avoid the tag and an RBI double from Jason Heyward that just nicked the foul line in right field.
Kimbrel recorded his 30th save of the year, which ties a franchise record for saves by a rookie closer, and Atlanta took the 9-6 victory.
The club will head to Cincinnati to face the Reds in a 3-game series this weekend. It'll be Jair Jurrjens against Bronson Arroyo in a 7:10EDT start Friday evening.