ATLANTA (AP) — Jason Heyward and Melky Cabrera each had two hits during a seven-run second inning, and the Atlanta Braves cruised past the Colorado Rockies 9-5 Friday night for their third straight win.
Eric Hinske drove in three runs and Chipper Jones homered for the Braves, who again made things easy for Derek Lowe (3-0). In Lowe's three starts, Atlanta has scored 32 runs; the other four starters have gotten a total of 24 runs.
The 20-year-old Heyward led off the second against Jason Hammel (0-1) with a single to center and came around to score. He singled again before the inning was done, knocking out Hammel. Cabrera followed each of Heyward's hits with single of his own, the second driving in the final two runs of the big inning.
Colorado bounced back from an 8-0 deficit, cutting the lead in half on pinch-hitter Seth Smith's three-run homer in the fifth. Lowe lasted 5 1-3 innings, giving up seven hits and four runs (three earned). Eric O'Flaherty worked 1 2-3 innings, allowing a run, and Kris Medlen finished up with two scoreless innings, striking out three.
Hammel was charged with all seven runs in the second. He surrendered eight hits and walked three, retiring only five batters before getting yanked.
After Heyward's first hit, Cabrera followed with a liner off Hammel's glove and David Ross dumped a single into center field to bring home Heyward. Lowe moved the runners along with a sacrifice bunt, and it looked as if Hammel might escape a really big inning when Nate McLouth hit a sacrifice fly to left, making it 2-0 but with two outs.
Turns out, the Braves were just getting warmed up.
Martin Prado and Jones both worked Hammel for walks, loading the bases, and Hinske followed with a two-run single to right to make it 4-0. Yunel Escobar drove in another run with an infield single and Heyward, getting up again, singled sharply to left to reload the bases.
That was it for Hammel, who threw only 34 strikes in 67 pitches. Manuel Corpas took over, but Cabrera became the second Atlanta batter with two hits in the inning when he ripped his two-run single to right. Ross flied out to finally end a torturous inning for the Rockies.
Prado had two more hits, giving him 19 for the season and matching Deon Sanders for the most hits by an Atlanta player in the first 10 games. The second baseman has hit safely in every game and has a 14-game streak going back to last season.
Both pitchers wiggled out of big trouble in the first.
Dexter Fowler led off the game against Lowe with a double, and Ryan Spilborghs followed with a single that moved Fowler to third. But Todd Helton struck out swinging on a pitch fading out of the zone, Spilborghs was thrown out trying to steal second and Troy Tulowitzki waved at strike three to end the threat.
In the bottom half, Atlanta loaded the bases with one out, stringing together a pair of singles and a walk. But Escobar grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Hammel wasn't so fortunate the next inning.
NOTES: The Rockies purchased the contract of LHP Joe Beimel from Colorado Springs. RHP Esmil Rogers was optioned to the Triple-A team. ... Colorado also shifted RHP Taylor Buchholz from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. Buchholz did not pitch last season and is still recovering from elbow surgery. ... While the team was on a West Coast road trip, the Braves jazzed up the home clubhouse with pictures of great moments in franchise history above the lockers. Among the images: Hank Aaron's 715th homer and several photos of the celebration after Atlanta's only World Series championship in 1995. ... Braves C Brian McCann hung up a a boxing championship belt in his locker — for fantasy football? McCann bought the belt off eBay, honoring himself as heavyweight champion of the ABFL (Atlanta Braves Football League).