ATLANTA (AP) — Mike Minor allowed only two hits in seven scoreless innings, Brian McCann hit a three-run homer in Atlanta’s seven-run third, and the Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 9-0 Wednesday night for their sixth straight win.
Freddie Freeman drove in two runs with four hits as the Braves continued their offensive surge with 15 hits. The Braves have scored 29 runs while winning the first three games of the four-game series.
The Braves lead second-place Washington by 11 games in the NL East, their biggest advantage in nine years.
Minor (11-5) didn’t walk a batter and didn’t allow a Colorado baserunner to reach second base.
Tyler Chatwood (7-4) allowed a career-high seven earned runs on 10 hits, one walk and one hit batter in only 2 1-3 innings.
Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez left the game in the fourth inning after aggravating his sprained right middle finger.
Dexter Fowler led off the game with a single up the middle and was thrown out by McCann attempting to steal second. That was the only baserunner Minor allowed until Nolan Arenado’s single with two outs in the fifth.
Minor, coming off a strong outing in a win over the Cardinals on Friday night, has given up two or fewer runs in five straight starts. He threw 95 pitches, 70 for strikes.
Freeman’s single in the first inning drove in Jason Heyward, who reached on second baseman Charlie Culberson’s fielding error.
The Braves’ first six batters reached base in the third inning. Freeman and Evan Gattis had run-scoring singles before McCann’s 15th homer pushed the lead to 6-0. Minor’s RBI single knocked Chatwood out of the game.
Freeman singled and scored on Chris Johnson’s single off Adam Outman in the fourth.
Gonzalez, playing with a sprained middle finger on his right hand that affects his ability to grip the bat, lost the bat on his follow-through while striking out to end the first. The bat hit catcher McCann’s shoulder, and he slumped forward for a few seconds before walking to the dugout.
Gonzalez, who throws left-handed, threw out Dan Uggla at the plate from left field in the second inning as Uggla tried to score from second on Andrelton Simmons’ single. TV replays indicated catcher Yorvit Torrealba may have missed Uggla on his swipe tag, and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez came out for a brief exchange with home-plate umpire Marty Foster.
DJ LeMahieu pinch hit for Gonzalez in the fourth inning.
There was a delay in the seventh after Rockies right-hander Wilton Lopez hit Simmons with a pitch. The ball glanced off Simmons’ chest and then squarely hit Foster’s left forearm. Foster left the game after he was examined by Braves assistant trainer Jim Lovell. A welt was forming on Foster’s arm.
Umpire Marvin Hudson moved from first base to take over at home.
Luis Ayala pitched the final two innings and stranded two baserunners in the ninth.
NOTES: The last time the Braves led the division by 11 games was Oct. 2, 2004. … Chatwood’s ERA climbed from 2.48 to 3.15 with the ugly start. … Braves GM Frank Wren said he had a few calls “but nothing that had a lot of traction” before the trade deadline. Wren said it was a “strange” trade market and “the asking prices were very high.” … Freeman had his second four-hit game of his career. His first was May 4, 2012, at Colorado. … Faces in the crowd: Former boxing champion Evander Holyfield, former Braves manager Bobby Cox and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. … Rockies RHP Chad Bettis will be called up from Double-A Tulsa to start in his major league debut against the Braves on Thursday night. RHP Julio Teheran will start for Atlanta.