Denver, CO – Evan Gattis clubbed a go-ahead home run in the top of the fourth inning that proved to be the difference, as the Atlanta Braves edged the Colorado Rockies, 4-3, in the opener of a doubleheader Tuesday at Coors Field.
The teams were scheduled to open the three-game series on Monday, but were instead postponed by snow in the Denver area. The snow was cleared off the field in time for Tuesday's game, but the cold weather remained, as the first pitch temperature of 23 degrees was the coldest for a home game in Rockies' franchise history.
Atlanta starter Mike Minor (3-1) braved the elements and limited the Rockies to three runs on five hits over six solid innings before Luis Avilan and Eric O'Flaherty each fired a perfect inning in relief.
Craig Kimbrel then worked around a one-out single in the ninth to secure his eighth save of the season and help the Braves snap a three-game skid.
"I think he did a terrific job pounding the strike zone, fighting the elements," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Minor. "We scored some runs early and were able to get another one late in the game after they came back and tied it, and our bullpen did a terrific job."
Dan Uggla stroked a two-run homer, Justin Upton added a solo shot and Reed Johnson collected four hits -- including three doubles -- in the victory.
Jeff Francis (1-2) allowed all four runs on six hits over four frames, while Josh Rutledge, Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco each added an RBI for the Rockies, who have lost two straight on the heels of an eight-game win streak.
"Three home runs really cost me," Francis admitted. "Location is the name of the game for me and I've got to hit the glove. I think all of us felt like that was a game we could have won."
Upton's 10th homer of the season staked the Braves to a 1-0 lead in the first, as he launched a 3-2 changeup into the first row in left-center field to get Atlanta on the board.
After Minor retired the Rockies in order in the bottom half, Chris Johnson led off the second with a single back up the middle and Uggla followed two batters later with a blast over the wall in straightaway center field to push Atlanta's lead to 3-0.
Colorado countered with a pair of runs in the bottom half, as Troy Tulowitzki worked a leadoff walk before Michael Cuddyer stroked a double to center.
Rosario then plated Tulowitzki with a groundout before Pacheco singled home Cuddyer to bring the Rockies within 3-2.
Colorado pulled even in the third when Dexter Fowler stroked a leadoff triple and scored on Rutledge's infield single, but Gattis answered in the fourth with a leadoff blast deep into the seats in left field for a 4-3 lead.
Atlanta's pitching staff made the lead hold up from there, as they limited the Rockies to just two hits over the final six innings to hang on for the win.
In the nightcap, Colorado sends Jon Garland to the mound to meet the Braves' Julio Teheran ... Upton's 10 home runs this month move him into a tie for Atlanta's franchise-record for home runs in the month of April with Ryan Klesko (1996) and Andres Gallaraga (1998, 2000) ... Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman (right oblique strain) returned from a 13-game absence and finished 1-for-3 ... Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward underwent successful appendectomy surgery on Monday and was placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday's game. Infielder Tyler Pastornicky was recalled from Triple- A Gwinnett to replace Heyward on the roster.