While outstanding pitching keyed the start of their winning streak, the Atlanta Braves needed their highest run total in more than three weeks to extend it.
The surging Braves might need another big day at the plate as they seek their fifth straight victory Tuesday night when rookie Alex Wood faces the Colorado Rockies.Andrelton Simmons hit a walkoff triple in the 10th inning as NL East-leading Atlanta (61-45) beat Colorado (51-56) for the ninth time in 10 tries at Turner Field with Monday's 9-8 win.After their pitching staff limited major league-best St. Louis to three runs over 27 innings in a three-game sweep, the Braves bailed out starter Brandon Beachy, who gave up seven runs over 3 2/3 innings in his first start in 13 months after undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery.They went 5 for 10 with seven RBIs with runners in scoring position, raising their average to .419 (13 for 31) in those situations during their winning streak. Atlanta's nine runs were its most since a 13-4 rout of Philadelphia on July 6.Atlanta hopes to continue that production with Wood (0-2, 3.42 ERA) making his second straight start filling in for Paul Maholm (wrist contusion), who was placed on the disabled list July 22. The left-hander, 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA in two starts, surrendered four runs and eight hits over 4 1/3 innings before leaving without a decision in a 7-4 loss to the Mets on Thursday."I thought for his second major league start he did OK," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It was a good experience for him. (Now) he'll get another opportunity to improve."Wood, though, will likely have to deal with Carlos Gonzalez as he faces the Rockies for the first time.The All-Star left fielder matched a career best by going 5 for 5 on Monday after missing three games with a sprained right middle finger. He's hitting .444 (12 for 27) with two homers and six RBIs in eight career games at Atlanta.Catcher Wilin Rosario also is heating up, going 5 for 9 with two homers in his last two games. Nolan Arenado is 8 for 20 in his last five, but his error Monday keyed Atlanta's six-run third inning.The Rockies will try to avoid their sixth loss in nine games by giving the ball to Juan Nicasio (6-4, 4.40), who looks to win his third straight.The right-hander has given up one run and eight hits in 19 innings since being recalled from the minors on July 12. He struck out a season-high nine batters and limited Miami to two hits over seven shutout innings before the Marlins rallied for a 5-3 victory Thursday."I had good location on my fastball and I was throwing strikes," Nicasio said. "I can throw it hard when I want to, and I've been able to put it inside, away or down in the zone."Nicasio is 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA in three career starts versus the Braves, though, and he'll make his first start in Atlanta since 2011.All-Star Freddie Freeman has pounded Nicasio with two home runs, a triple, and a double in six career at-bats. Freeman, though, is 4 for 26 with one homer over his last seven games.Simmons has gone 7 for 13 with five RBIs in his last three contests, while Chris Johnson is batting .462 (12 for 26) over a seven-game hitting streak.
Freddie Freeman hit two home runs Tuesday and now has 10 home runs in 20 career games against the Rockies. Freeman is hitting a home run once every 7.7 at-bats against the Rockies in his career, his best home run rate against any opponent, minimum 10 at-bats.