DENVER (AP)Travis d’Arnaud homered twice, including a grand slam, and drove in a career-high six runs as the Atlanta Braves pounced on Colorado’s struggling pitching in a 13-6 rout of the Rockies on Thursday night.
D’Arnaud was 3 for 5 and scored three times as the Braves piled up 18 hits against the Rockies, who have allowed 39 runs over the past three games.
He became the first Atlanta catcher to drive in six or more runs since Javy Lopez in 2003.
”It’s amazing we did as well as we did last year when we lost him for 100 games,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of d’Arnaud, who had thumb surgery in 2021. ”He’s such a settling, calming influence for everybody. When he’s out there, everybody trusts him. I know I do.”
C.J. Cron hit his 14th homer, Garrett Hampson also went deep and Charlie Blackmon went 4 for 5 in Colorado’s 17th loss in 24 games.
After allowing 26 runs over 19 innings in a doubleheader split Wednesday against Miami, the Rockies hoped Austin Gomber (2-6) would give them a long, effective outing. The lefty instead was charged with a career high-tying nine runs and 10 hits over five innings. He’s allowed 15 earned runs in his past two starts.
The tired bullpen wasn’t any better, with Ty Blach allowing four runs and seven hits over three innings. The Rockies have given up 51 hits in two days.
”Those guys, there’s six of them now, they have to perform,” manager Bud Black said of the rotation. ”So, bullpen sessions, really getting into some of the scouting reports, and it comes down to making pitches. And if you don’t, the opposition is going to hand it to you.”
D’Arnaud smacked Gomber’s changeup to left field for a two-run homer in the third, then pulled his curveball over the wall in the fifth for his second career grand slam to make it 9-1. D’Arnaud, who last had a multi-homer game in 2019, entered the night batting .250 with four homers.
”The offense exploded tonight. We had a ton of runs, a ton of hits,” d’Arnaud said. ”A lot of good at-bats, a lot of battles. We’re playing good baseball.”
Ian Anderson (4-3) allowed five runs and 10 hits with nine strikeouts over six innings.
Colorado second baseman Brendan Rodgers doubled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 20 games, and Connor Joe doubled twice to push his on-base streak to 29 games.
Braves: After not playing Wednesday, OF Ronald Acuna Jr. went 2 for 5 with an RBI as the DH. Snitker said it’s part of the slow process of recovering from right ACL surgery. ”I think he’s doing a great job of being forthright with how he feels and not covering anything up,” Snitker said.
Rockies: OF Kris Bryant, on the injured list for a second time with a sore back, did some light running and throwing in the outfield 3 1/2 hours before the game. Bryant has not started hitting. … OF Yonathan Daza, hit with a 98 mph pitch above the left elbow in Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader, was out of the lineup for a second straight game. ”He’ll be fine,” Black said.
HILLIARD VS. ALS
Colorado outfielder Sam Hilliard was in concussion protocol after diving for a ball Wednesday and couldn’t play on the majors’ second annual Lou Gehrig Day. Hilliard’s father, Jim, died in September of the same disease that took the Hall of Famer’s life – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Hilliard and his Texas-based family have since started the Team Hilliard Foundation to help fund ALS research.
”I’m happy that I’m able to help represent the ALS community because after getting to know a lot of these people, they’re just incredible people who are fighting like hell to do anything they can to find some hope, find a cure,” Hilliard said before the game.
Hilliard’s mother, Tamara, helped pitch the Lou Gehrig Day idea to Major League Baseball. She attended the game.
”Jim and I would talk to Sam after the games,” Tamara Hilliard said. ”I still do, but it’s not the same. It’s not the same without his dad.”
The Braves, the only team in the majors without a three-game winning streak, will try again to accomplish the feat Friday night when LHP Max Fried (5-2, 3.10 ERA) faces Rockies RHP Chad Kuhl (4-2, 3.56).
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