Rockies-Braves Preview

The Associated Press

The chance the Colorado Rockies halt their struggles at Atlanta appears to be even more difficult without one of their top hitters in the lineup.

A night after third baseman Nolan Arenado broke his finger, the Rockies must move on and try to avoid an eighth consecutive road loss to the Braves on Saturday.

In his second season, Arenado is batting .305 and had six hits in his last 12 at-bats, but the third baseman left Friday's 3-2 loss in the second inning after fracturing his left middle finger on a head-first slide into second base. It's uncertain how long Colorado (26-22) will be without Arenado, whose 28-game hitting streak from April 9-May 8 is the longest in the majors this season.

"He'll miss some time,'' manager Walt Weiss said. ''It's tough news for our club. He's off to a great start and a hell of a player.''

Though Rockies star Carlos Gonzalez is 5 for 22 with seven strikeouts in his last seven games versus Atlanta, they could receive a boost if he returns from missing the last two with a swollen left index finger.

The Rockies have totaled six runs and 23 hits during a season-high four-game slide on the road, where they are 10-15 and averaging 3.9 runs. They've averaged 6.8 runs at Coors Field.

Colorado has not won a series at Atlanta since Sept. 26-28, 2005, going 5-23 since then. Losers in 13 of 14 at Turner Field, the Rockies have totaled 15 runs in their last seven there.

Atlanta's Mike Minor (2-2, 3.80 ERA) has allowed 11 runs, 15 hits and six walks in 11 innings while going 1-0 in two starts at Coors Field, but conceded only three hits over 14 scoreless innings to win both outings against the Rockies at home.

Michael Cuddyer hit a grand slam off Minor, and also has a double while going 3 for 6 against him.

Half of the 10 runs Minor has allowed in his four starts this season have come via home runs. The left-hander yielded a two-run shot and four other hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 9-3 win over Milwaukee on Monday.

While Atlanta is 4-0 against the Rockies with Minor on the mound, Juan Nicasio (4-2, 4.03) has allowed 20 runs, 30 hits and walked 10 in 18 1-3 innings while going 0-3 in four starts against the Braves.

The right-hander is 0-1 in his last two starts overall, yielding four runs in six innings of each. He gave up a season-high nine hits and two homers during an 8-6 home victory over San Diego on Sunday.

Nicasio is 3-0 with a 3.60 ERA in six home starts this season, but 1-2 with a 4.96 ERA on the road.

Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Chris Johnson are a combined 17 for 30 with five doubles and eight walks against Nicasio.

Heyward, B.J. Upton and Gerald Laird each had two hits Friday for the Braves (27-20), who have won two in a row and five of six. Laird is 5 for 15 with three RBIs while starting four straight games for catcher Evan Gattis, who has been held out with viral symptoms.

"He's come up big," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Carlos Gonzalez is 3 for 9 with a double against Minor.

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