Braves Throw Thirteen On The Board Against The Rockies

Doug Pensinger

A grand slam from Andrelton Simmons in the bottom of the first helped contribute to a 7-run 1st inning that the Braves rode to victory

We had ourselves a good ol', pre-Humidor type game at Coors Field tonight, as 23 runs were hung up on the scoreboard by both teams. 13 of those were scored by the Braves, as they rode a 7-run 1st inning to a victory over the Rockies.

Yes, you read that right: A 7-run 1st inning. Even for Coors Field, that's nuts. Jason Heyward doubled to kick things off, and B.J. Upton tripled to easily bring in Heyward for the game's first run. The next batter was Freddie Freeman, and he grounded out to bring in B.J. for run #2. Juan Nicasio and the Rockies wouldn't record another out until Jason Heyward came back up. By that time, Tommy La Stella drove in a run with the bases loaded to make it 3-0, then Andrelton Simmons came up with the bases still loaded did this:

Immediately afterwards, Mike Minor popped up for the 2nd out of the inning. By then, it was 7-0. Even considering where this game was taking place, it seemed like it'd be smooth sailing for the Braves, right?

Wrong. The Braves' pitching staff is similar to musical artist/DJ/subpar sports pundit DJ Khaled in that they seem to suffer from/with success at times. Given a 7-run lead, Mike Minor proceeded to scuffle his way through the rest of the game. Mike Minor only gave up 2 hits in the bottom of the first, but 4 walks and a passed ball helped contribute to a 3-run inning in the bottom of the 1st inning for the Rockies. That was only the start of what eventually became a very rough night for Mike Minor and anybody whose job description was "pitcher."

With that being said, there was a positive for Mike Minor tonight, and that was the fact that he helped himself with an RBI in the top of the 3rd that made it 8-3 at that point. The same could be said for Juan Nicasio, who paid Minor back by getting an RBI of his own in the bottom of the 3rd, which came after a Josh Rutledge RBI single.

Evan Gattis and Freddie Freeman both hit solo dingers in the top of the 4th to bring the Braves' tally to 10, and that was finally when Walt Weiss decided to give the hook to Juan Nicasio. His final tally? 3.2 IP, 11 hits, 3 HRs allowed and 10 runs earned, good for -.525 WPA for the night. The Braves flogged Nicasio tonight. By the point of Nicasio's removal from the game, it was clear that we in the midst of one of those old-school Coors Field donnybrooks from the glory days of Larry Walker, Vinny Castilla, and company.

After giving up a homer to Wilin Rosario in the bottom half of the 4th to make it 10-6, it would have been reasonable to believe that that might have been when Fredi called it a night for Mike Minor. Inexplicably, Minor came out for the bottom half of the 5th. Predictably, he got into trouble, and finally left the game with the score 10-7 following DJ LeMahieu's first hit of the season against the Braves (which was an RBI single). David Hale mercifully relieved Mike Minor after a rough stint (4.0 IP, 11 H, 1 HR, 8 ER, which was good for a cool -.252 in WPA), and got out of the 5th with the score being 10-8.

The runs kept on coming in the 6th. After a wild pitch from Chad Bettis, Wilin Rosario compounded the problems by sending the throw to 3rd to catch Freddie Freeman into left field. This allowed Freddie to coast home to make it 11-8, and then Evan Gattis continued his hot streak by bringing in Jordan Schafer (who came in during the top of the 1st in lieu of Justin Upton, who left with a strained hamstring) for the Braves' 12th run of the night. Gattis came home thanks to a hit from TLS to make it 13-8.

At this point, it was pretty foolish to believe that the scoring was over. It's not "One Of Those Coors Field Games" until both teams hit double figures, and the Rockies scored 2 runs over the next 2 innings to increase their tally to 10. They could have sent that number even higher after Jordan Walden made his return in the bottom of the 8th and immediately got into trouble. Fortunately, Shae "Simbrel" Simmons came in during a bases loaded, 1-out jam and only gave up a sacrifice fly. With the way this game had gone, that was basically as good as putting up a "0" on the scoreboard.

Taking into consideration all of the craziness that occurred on the offensive side of the ball, it seemed like a safe bet to think that Craig Kimbrel might run into a bit of trouble, right? Wrong. Kimbrel came in, struck out the side, and was probably thinking something along the lines of "Really? What was wrong with you guys?!"

So, in summation, 23 runs were scored, 29 hits were recorded, Mike Minor had nearly a full point added onto his ERA, and Juan Nicaso had 1.2 points added onto his ERA. Safe to say that this was a wild one, a.k.a. a regular Tuesday night at Coors Field.

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