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Rockies finally roll against Braves

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Juan Nicasio and the Colorado Rockies finally enjoyed some success against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

Nicasio allowed only two hits over six scoreless innings and was backed by home runs from Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer, as the Rockies snapped a seven-game losing streak at Turner Field with a 3-1 victory.

"Good gut-check for us," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss, whose team lost third baseman Nolan Arenado because of a broken finger as well as the series opener the previous night.

Nicasio had been 0-3 with a 9.82 ERA in his career against Atlanta.

"You felt pretty good going in," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez admitted.

Nicasio, though, improved to 5-2 for the season while lowering his ERA to 3.61. The right-hander struck out five and walked four.

"Juan really fought through the outing," Weiss said. "He had a couple spots there where he got in some trouble and pitched out of it. That was big. Tremendous effort by Juan."

Cuddyer, who had missed 24 games because of a strained hamstring before coming off the disabled list on Tuesday, received the green light on a 3-and-0 count leading off the second inning. The right fielder drove a fastball from Mike Minor over the left-field fence for his fifth home run of the season and second in two days.

Tulowitzki's home run, his 14th of the season, also came at the start of an inning. He jumped on a 0-and-1 fastball from Minor and sent a towering drive over the fence near the left-field foul pole.

The home runs were the fifth and sixth given up by Minor (2-3) in five starts this season, and they have accounted for seven of the 13 runs the left-hander has allowed.

The last run Minor gave up to the Rockies came courtesy of video review.

Charlie Culberson, who had two hits filling in for Arenado, doubled to open the seventh inning and advanced on a groundout. Pinch hitter Charlie Blackmon then bounced to first baseman Freddie Freeman, and Culberson was called out at the plate by umpire Lance Barksdale.

Weiss challenged, however, and after video review of more than four minutes it was ruled that catcher Evan Gattis missed the tag.

"That was a big add-on run for them," Gonzalez said.

Minor, who allowed only two runs while winning his previous two starts, gave up four hits and three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three.

"It was a battle," Minor said. "I didn't feel like I had my best stuff."

Center fielder B.J. Upton singled between a pair of two-out walks in the third inning, but Nicasio got out of the bases-loaded jam by getting right fielder Justin Upton to pop out in foul territory.

The only other hit Nicasio allowed was a one-out double by Justin Upton in the sixth inning.

"His slider was good for him, but I think it all started with his fastball," Weiss said. "He was able to elevate it at times and get swings and misses. He pitched well with the fastball."

B.J. Upton had a single and Freeman a double off reliever Boone Logan in the eighth inning and the Braves got to within two runs on a sacrifice fly by Justin Upton.

But Adam Ottavino fanned Gattis to end the inning.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 11th save in 12 opportunities.

"Much like all year, this team is resilient," Weiss said. "They turn the page, compete and don't lose confidence."

NOTES: Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado (mallet fracture of left middle finger) was put on the 15-day disabled list and 2B Josh Rutledge recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Arenado, injured on a headfirst slide Friday, probably will miss at least a month. ... Braves 3B Chris Johnson was back in the lineup after being pulled following a second-inning meltdown in the dugout tunnel Friday. Parts of a splintered bat struck manager Fredi Gonzalez and C Gerald Laird. Johnson, who has trouble controlling his temper, apologized afterward. "I let my emotions get the best of me," he said. ... Braves RF Jason Heyward had his hitting streak end at 11 games. ... C Evan Gattis returned to the Braves' lineup after sitting out four games while battling a virus. ... Rockies LF Carlos Gonzalez was out of the lineup for the third straight day because of a swollen left index finger. ... RHP Julio Teheran (3-3, 1.92 ERA) of the Braves will start the finale of the three-game series Sunday against LHP Franklin Morales (3-3, 5.30). Teheran is coming off his second shutout of the season.

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