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Rockies-Braves Preview

AP - Sports

The Atlanta Braves have made a habit of pounding Colorado Rockies pitching.

Looking to continue that trend, the NL East-leading Braves try to complete a four-game sweep of the visiting Rockies with a seventh consecutive win Thursday night.

Atlanta (63-45) has hit .323 and outscored Colorado 48-22 while winning five of six in the season series. The Braves have batted .353 while totaling 29 runs and 41 hits through the first three of this set to increase their division lead to a major-league best 11 games.

"We're clicking on all cylinders,'' said first baseman Freddie Freeman, who had four hits with two RBIs in Wednesday's 9-0 rout.

The Braves posted a six-run inning in each of the first two contests and scored seven in the third Wednesday.

"I can't remember a time ever in my career (where) three games in a row they scored, what, six-plus runs?'' said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is 0 for 10 in the series and 1 for 19 this season versus Atlanta. "Six in two games, seven (Wednesday)? In one inning?

"These last two games have just been bad. We got our butts kicked.''

The Braves have averaged 6.2 runs while winning 17 of 21 overall against the Rockies (51-58), who have dropped 11 of 12 at Turner Field.

Brian McCann hit a three-run homer to highlight that seven-run third Wednesday.

Freeman, meanwhile, is 6 for 8 with six RBIs in the last two games and batting 368 with 13 RBIs in 11 career home games versus Colorado.

Atlanta could be in for another big offensive night against Colorado's Chad Bettis, who will be thrown into the fire Thursday in his major league debut. The hard-throwing right-hander was 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 12 starts for Double-A Tulsa.

Colorado does not appear to have a definitive long-term plan for the 24-year-old, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury and two months in 2013 with an oblique injury.

"We haven't talked about what his role would be," manager Walt Weiss told the Rockies' official website. "There are a couple of different schools of thought. He's been a starter, so his arm is built up to do that. Some people project him as a bullpen guy down the road.

"We'll figure all that stuff out."

The Braves counter with Julio Teheran (7-5, 3.07 ERA), who has not factored in the decision of his last two starts but has allowed one run, six hits and struck out 12 in 13 innings over those contests - both Atlanta victories. The right-hander gave up two hits in seven innings of a 2-0 win over St. Louis on Saturday.

"I think that's the best game I've ever pitched,'' said Teheran, who is in his first full major league season. "The command I had, I think that's the best I've had this year.''

Teheran looked sharp when he yielded a run and eight hits over seven innings of a 10-2 victory at Colorado on April 23.

He likely won't have to face Rockies All-Star Carlos Gonzalez, who left Wednesday in the fourth inning after aggravating his sprained right middle finger and may land on the disabled list.

"I think it's worth having a discussion,'' Weiss said. "I think he got it pretty good, too. It didn't look good. It's the same thing.

"We've talked about it; he's probably going to be dealing with this for a little while. We'll have to re-evaluate where he's at.''

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