Rockies go ‘Gonzo’ in end vs. Braves
Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2011 6:54 pm
By: By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Sports Writer
DENVER (AP) — Carlos Gonzalez gave his family members quite the send-off thanks in large part to Martin Prado’s tough night.
Gonzalez singled home the winning run off Eric O’Flaherty with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Colorado Rockies to a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.
“It’s always special when my family’s here” the Venezuelan slugger said. “They don’t have that opportunity every day to get to see me play and it’s funny because two nights ago my sister was telling me, ‘I don’t want to leave here without seeing you hit a home run.’ And I hit a home run last night and today was another special game.
“You don’t have that opportunity every day to drive a guy home and (celebrate).”
Or to go home and rejoice some more with relatives who are flying out Thursday.
Prado’s rare fielding error at third base paved the way for Gonzalez’s big moment.
O’Flaherty (1-3) retired his first two batters before Prado let Dexter Fowler’s grounder go through his legs for a two-base error on Wednesday evening in Denver.
“No excuse,” Prado said. “I should’ve stayed down, stopped that ball.”
Pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton was intentionally walked, bringing up Gonzalez, who slapped the first pitch he saw into right field, scoring Fowler from second.
That made a winner out of Huston Street (1-3), who threw a 1-2-3 ninth, which ended with Fowler catching pinch-hitter Brian McCann’s drive up against the wall.
“You just hate to lose a ballgame, two outs nobody on in the ninth and one of your best defenders makes an error,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “But that’s the way it goes and I was the first one to pat him on the back when he came off the field.”
Backed by such stellar defense, Juan Nicasio was again overpowering at Coors Field, allowing one run and five hits over seven innings.
He stood to improve to 5-0 at home until Matt Lindstrom blew the save in just two pitches in the eighth inning.
Nicasio lowered his earned run average at Coors Field to 1.57 thanks to command of his fastball and more sink on his slider.
Helton gave Colorado a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run shot into the seats in right field, his 11th homer. The Braves cut their deficit in half in the second when Heyward singled and scored on a double by David Ross.
Braves right-hander Tim Hudson allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings.
Notes: Heyward had missed the last two games with a bruised left foot. ... Uggla extended his hitting streak to 12 games, tying his career-high set last summer, and his RBI snapped Brothers’ scoreless streak at 10 innings covering 12 appearances and dating to June 19.
Arnie Stapleton can be reached at http://twitter.com/arniestapleton