Duvall’s 2-run homer lifts Braves over Rockies 6-5
DENVER (AP) — Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer in Atlanta’s three-run fifth inning, and the Braves overcame a grand slam by Charlie Blackmon to beat the Colorado Rockies 6-5 on Thursday night.
Jorge Soler also homered and Austin Riley hit a two-run double for Atlanta, which took the opener of a four-game series after losing three straight to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves also stayed two games ahead of second-place Philadelphia in the NL East.
Five Atlanta relievers combined for six scoreless innings after Touki Toussaint struggled. Jacob Webb (2-2) got six outs for the win, and Will Smith worked the ninth for his 30th save in 34 chances.
Braves manager Brian Snitker liked what he saw from his club after being swept in Los Angeles.
“They tend to their business, they come to play and they prepare and they play the game at hand,” Snitker said. “They don’t look behind them or ahead. They focus on today. I always preach that. These guys do a really good job of staying in the moment and playing today’s game.”
Smith surrendered a leadoff single to Ryan McMahon before striking out Elias Díaz and coaxing pinch-hitter Garrett Hampson into a game-ending double play.
The Braves went ahead to stay with three runs in the fifth. Freddie Freeman led off with a double against Yency Almonte (1-3). Freeman advanced on Riley’s single and scored on Dansby Swanson’s sacrifice fly.
Duvall then hit a drive to deep left for his 30th homer, lifting Atlanta to a 6-5 lead.
“That’s one of my strengths, hitting for power and driving in runs,” said Duvall, who is in his second stint with the Braves after being acquired from Miami on July 30 in exchange for catcher Alex Jackson. “That’s something I need to continue to do. That’s definitely one of the things I try to hone in on and focus on and work on.”
Soler homered in the first inning off Chi Chi Gonzalez, who started in place of the injured Jon Gray, sidelined by right forearm tightness. Riley’s two-run double in the third gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead.
But the Rockies broke through for five runs in their half of the third against Toussaint. Díaz was hit by a pitch and then was safe at second on Toussaint’s errant throw after gathering in Gonzalez’s fielder’s choice. Connor Joe followed with an RBI single and Brendan Rodgers also singled to load the bases ahead of Blackmon’s fourth career grand slam.
Gonzalez went 3 2/3 innings and gave up three runs and four hits. He walked four and struck out one.
“I thought his stuff was fine,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “The ball-strike ratio wasn’t great. He wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen him. The Braves, they have some power. They have the ability to do some damage.” BACK AGAINST THE WALL
Duvall displayed exceptional glove work in center field in addition to his dynamic bat. He ran down Joe’s deep drive, making a leaping catch against the wall for the final out of the seventh inning.
“I knew it was hit well, so I turned around, put my head down and ran to the wall,” he said. “When I caught it, I didn’t think I was on the wall but I ended up closer than I thought it was.”
Braves: RHP Chris Martin was placed on the 10-day injured list because of right elbow inflammation. It’s his second stint this season on the IL, having missed 30 games from April 10-May 12 due to right shoulder inflammation. LHP Sean Newcomb was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland, who left his start Wednesday at Texas in the second inning because of a left hip impingement, was treated with an anti-inflammatory injection on Thursday and was reported to be feeling much better. Barring a setback, he remains on target to make his next start on schedule.
Braves: RHP Huascar Ynoa (4-4, 2.90 ERA) is set to start Friday night. He is looking to get back on the winning track after successive losses.
Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (3-9, 4.18 ERA) is coming off his first road win of the season last Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is 2-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 71 2/3 innings at Coors Field this season.