The Braves won't have struggling slugger Jason Heyward on Tuesday - and for a while longer - as these teams play a split doubleheader following the third postponement at Coors Field this season.
After averaging 5.2 runs while opening 12-1, Atlanta has dropped four of five. Having scored nine runs while batting .195 over that stretch, the Braves (13-5) are coming off their third straight loss, 4-2 at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
"We're just not capitalizing on our opportunities offensively," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team dropped to 0-5 when not homering. "We're not getting that big hit when we need it. We're not catching any breaks either, like a broken-bat hit or a pitch going to the backstop. It'll turn around, though."
To make things worse, Atlanta found out Monday it will be without Heyward for a while after the right fielder had an appendectomy. Heyward, hitting just .121 with two homers, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. Gonzalez said there's no set timetable for his return.
The Braves could get a boost from cleanup hitter Freddie Freeman , who is expected to be activated from the DL after going 5 for 10 with two doubles during a three-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett.
Freeman was 7 for 17 with a homer and seven RBIs before suffering a strained right oblique April 6. Dan Uggla should also be available after sitting out Sunday due to a strained left calf.
The Braves and Colorado (13-5) rank among the major league leaders in homers, and the Rockies are near the top with a .482 slugging percentage and 104 runs.
Colorado had opened a franchise-best 8-0 at home and won eight straight overall before falling 5-4 to Arizona on Sunday. Troy Tulowitzki went 2 for 4 with his sixth homer, but the Rockies gave up three runs over the last two innings - including two in the ninth - with closer Rafael Betancourt unavailable after pitching the previous two days.
"This is a good team and we battle every single game," said Carlos Gonzalez , batting a team-high .364. "If you're going to lose your winning streak, it's better to do it the way we did today, playing good baseball. We just had one bad inning at the end."
Colorado could have a hard time regrouping versus Atlanta, which has won seven of eight and 12 of 15 in the series. The Braves are batting .327 and have scored 38 runs during a four-game winning streak in Denver.
Atlanta now gives the ball to Mike Minor (2-1, 0.95 ERA), who was scheduled to start Monday's series opener before it was postponed due to bad weather.
The left-hander, who has struck out 16 and walked one over his first three starts, gave up one run and five hits over six innings in a 1-0 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday.
Minor allowed a career-high eight runs over five innings at Colorado on May 5 before giving up one hit and striking out seven in seven innings of a 1-0 home win over the Rockies on Sept. 5.
The Rockies counter with Jeff Francis (1-1, 8.25), who's allowed 15 runs - 10 earned - 16 hits and six walks over his last two starts spanning six innings. The left-hander is 3-2 with a 6.49 ERA in five outings against the Braves, but he hasn't faced them since 2007.
Francis will need to be cautious with Justin Upton , who's gone 8 for 22 with two homers in their matchups. The slugging left fielder, who has nine home runs, is batting .341 with five homers and 16 RBIs over his last 25 games against the Rockies.
Julio Teheran (0-0, 7.31) gets the ball for the Braves in the nightcap. The right-hander has allowed at least four runs in all three starts this season and given up five homers in 16 innings, but the Braves have come away with a win each time.
Teheran will be opposed by Jon Garland (2-0, 3.32). The right-hander has notched three quality starts in as many outings, including Thursday against the Mets when he allowed two runs over seven innings of an 11-3 win at home.
"So far, he's been real good at pitching down and his sinker is even better than I thought it was," manager Walt Weiss said. "He knows what he's doing out there. He's got a plan."
Garland, 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA in five career starts at Coors Field, is 1-2 with a 7.25 ERA in four starts against the Braves. He's held Upton and Uggla to a combined six hits in 30 at-bats.
|April 23, 2013||Jason Heyward||Day-to-Day||Appendectomy|
|April 20, 2013||Dan Uggla||Day-to-Day||Left game - left calf strain|
|April 20, 2013||Blake DeWitt||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|April 16, 2013||Luis Avilan||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring injury|
|April 07, 2013||Cristhian Martinez||15-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|April 07, 2013||Freddie Freeman||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|April 20, 2013||Jhoulys Chacin||15-Day DL||Left lower back strain|
|February 14, 2013||Edwar Cabrera||60-Day DL||Left shoulder impingement|
DENVER (AP) -- In their first season with the Atlanta Braves , Justin and B.J. Upton have become the new bash brothers.
The power-hitting siblings cracked back-to-back homers for the first time, leading Atlanta past the Colorado Rockies 10-2 Tuesday night to complete a doubleheader sweep that began with the coldest game at Coors Field.
"It's always cool when you can see him have success before you and then you go up and do the same thing," said Justin Upton , acquired as part of a seven-player trade with Arizona in January. "It was definitely cool for us to tack on those runs when we needed them. That was nice."
It was the 27th time in major league history that brothers homered in the same game, but only the second time they went deep in consecutive at-bats. Lloyd and Paul Waner of the Pittsburgh Pirates also accomplished the feat on Sept. 15, 1938.
Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Uptons were displaying the kind of 1-2 punch that the Braves were hoping for when they acquired them. B.J. Upton was signed as a free agent last winter.
"It makes your lineup a lot better when you've got B.J. going and you've got Justin, too," Gonzalez said. "For me, Justin is your No. 3 hitter and it doesn't matter who is on the mound that night."
Or what the weather is like, for that matter.
In the first game, Justin Upton , Dan Uggla and rookie Evan Gattis homered in support of a solid outing by Mike Minor as the Braves won 4-3 in a game that began with a temperature of 23 degrees.
The weather warmed up for the night game - but only a bit. It was 30 degrees at first pitch.
In the nightcap, B.J. Upton homered to left field off Jon Garland to start the fifth inning, his third of the season. Justin Upton drove Garland's next pitch to center for his major league-leading 11th home run.
"Mistakes," Garland said. "Maybe a wrong choice of pitches. When you miss with pitches, good hitters will get you."
Said Justin Upton : "I'm just trying to be part of a team that was already good. I can't put my thumb as to why I have hit the way I have; just got to continue to work and try to keep it up."
B.J. Upton was getting treatment and not available to reporters after the nightcap.
The Uptons have homered in the same game three times this season. They each added another RBI later in the game, B.J. on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly and Justin on a ninth-inning double that was part of a four-run burst.
The Braves outhomered the Rockies 6-0 in taking both games from Colorado, which entered the twinbill tied with Atlanta for the best record in baseball at 13-5.
"This Atlanta team, you have to try to keep them in the yard. We had a tough time doing that today," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Six homers in two games. That is what they do if it's for a strike and they are locked in."
Julio Teheran (1-0) made the most of his offensive support in the nightcap, allowing one run over seven innings to quiet the Rockies, who have lost three in a row at Coors Field since an 8-0 start at home.
The Braves also got a home run and run-scoring double from Juan Francisco . His two-run shot in the fourth came after Freddie Freeman drew a one-out walk. Colorado had broken on top with an RBI single by Michael Cuddyer in the third.
Garland (2-1) went six innings and allowed six runs on 10 hits.
Reed Johnson , playing right field for Atlanta in the opener because Jason Heyward underwent an appendectomy Monday night, went 4 for 4 with three doubles. Heyward was put on the 15-day disabled list.
The matchup featured baseball's hottest teams - and the coldest game-time temperature in the majors since such data collection began in 1991, according to STATS. The Rockies said the previous low at Coors Field was 28 degrees.
Donning a short-sleeve jersey with his standard T-shirt underneath while many other players were bundled up, Minor (3-1) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. He said he decided against warmer attire because he wanted the same freedom of movement he feels with his arms uncovered.
"I don't know what it is, but with (long) sleeves on, I feel restricted," he said. "It's just a feeling and you want to feel comfortable out there."
To a degree, anyway.
"It was all right," Minor said. "The biggest thing was grip, just being cold and dry. I pretty much just battled through it."
At one point, Minor acknowledged he got so cold that he had a trainer rub his back, arms and thighs with a heating ointment.
"I was burning up there," he said with a smile.
By the time Craig Kimbrel pitched a one-hit ninth for his eighth save in eight chances, the temperature had warmed up to 27.
Gattis hit a tiebreaking home run in the fourth and ended the game by throwing out Wilin Rosario trying to steal second.
Jeff Francis (1-2) gave up four runs and six hits in four innings, leaving him with an 8.44 ERA.
Ground crews began working around 6 a.m. to clear several inches of snow from the playing surface at Coors Field, which opened in 1995. While there was no sign of snow on the field when the game started, some parts of the ballpark remained closed, including the snow-filled Rockpile section in center.
Workers hosed off the snow on the stand of evergreen trees beyond the center-field wall. It was important that the trees be cleared because they're part of the green batters' eye background.
It's been a wintry April for Denver, which has been hit by a wave of snowy weather over the past nine days that forced postponements of games three times. The delays led to two doubleheaders within a week.
NOTES: Justin Upton 's 11 homers in April are the most by a Braves player. ... Gattis leads all major league rookies with six home runs and has homered in every park he's played in so far (Colorado, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Washington and Miami). ... The Rockies were 0-3 at home against the Braves last year and 1-6 overall. ... It isn't always freezing at Coors Field. According to the Rockies, the hottest game played here was 100 degrees last June 25 when Colorado hosted Washington.