After securing wins in the first two games at Coors Field, the Braves suffered a defeat in game three after an uncharacteristic start from ace Julio Teheran. The Braves entered play Thursday looking to end the road trip with a winning series. Importantly, the Braves woke up to find themselves in second place in the NL East, a game back of the surging Nationals.
The Braves turned to Ervin Santana to secure the series win. But this is Coors Field — which might as well be on Neptune — and things did not go well for the former American League pitcher.
Santana put the lead-off hitter on in the first three innings, and the Rockies plated the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the third. After surrendering a single to opposing pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, outfielder Charlie Blackmon continued his terrific season with a home run to deep right that landed inside the foul pole.
The Rockies would add another run in the sixth on a two-out Justin Morneau solo shot, and ultimately blow the game wide open with a five-run seventh inning. Santana would end the day with six earned runs over six and one-third inning, with eight strikeouts against two walks. The final line would see Jordan Walden, David Carpenter, and Anthony Vavaro each add earned runs to their stat line, with Walden looking particularly helpless in his second appearance since his DL stint.
The score would sit at 8-0 before the Braves got on the scoreboard in the top of the eighth, with a long RBI single from Jason Heyward and a two-run homer by B.J. Upton. Following two more runs from the Rockies in the bottom of the eighth, the game ended with the Rockies on top 10-3.
Ultimately, the Braves managed only four hits on the day (with two coming from Tommy La Stella) while the Rockies tallied eighteen runs in the past two days. Following a great pitching performance on Monday and the offensive explosion on Tuesday, I was optimistic the team would roll out of town with a winning series. The Braves will now head back to Turner Field to take on the Angels, still chasing the Nationals for the top spot in the NL East.