Denver, CO – Eric Hinske put on a hitting clinic Friday at Coors Field.
The burly slugger racked up four hits, including the go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the 11th inning as the Atlanta Braves topped the Colorado Rockies, 9-8, in the opener of a three-game series.
Hinske finished with three RBI, while Freddie Freeman added a two-run shot among his four hits, Brian McCann contributed a two-run single and Chipper Jones went 3-for-5 with a solo shot and three runs scored for the Braves, who dropped 2-of-3 to the Philadelphia Phillies earlier in the week.
"I got a nice pitch to hit there," Hinske said. "I got it up into the nice Colorado air and got some backspin on it and it kept going."
Chad Durbin (2-0) tossed a scoreless 10th inning to pick up the win and Craig Kimbrel gave up a run in the 11th, but nailed down his ninth save of the season.
Jonathan Herrera ripped a solo homer among his two hits, while Todd Helton finished 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI and two runs scored. Dexter Fowler added a two-run single for the Rockies, who have dropped two of their last three.
Edgmer Escalona (0-1) was saddled with the loss after giving up Hinske's homer.
Colorado jumped out on top in a hurry, plating five runs in its first at-bat. Herrera cracked a one-out double and Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez both drew free passes to load the bases. Helton then came up with a two-run single down the right field line and Michael Cuddyer followed with an RBI single to center to make it 3-0. After Hernandez grounded out, Fowler slapped a single into right to score Helton and Cuddyer.
Atlanta answered with a pair of runs in the third when Jones lined a one-out single back through the box and Freeman crushed a middle-in fastball over the right field wall to bring the Braves within 5-2.
The Braves plated four runs in the fifth to take a 6-5 advantage. Michael Bourn started the rally with a one-out single, stole second and scored on a base hit to center by Jones. Freeman followed with a single, and Jones and Freeman both moved up a base on a wild pitch by Rockies starter Guillermo Moscoso. McCann then drove home both runners with a base hit to center. Hinske capped the scoring later in the frame with an RBI double.
The Rockies answered in the bottom half when Herrera stroked a sinker from Braves starter Tim Hudson over the scoreboard in right to tie the game at six, but the Braves grabbed the lead right back in their next at-bat when Jones launched a hanging slider over the left-center field wall.
Helton started the Colorado sixth with a double down the right field line and Cuddyer reached on an error by Jones. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt and Fowler walked to load the bases. Helton then scored on a groundout by pinch-hitter Tyler Colvin to knot the game at seven.
The Rockies had an opportunity to win it in the ninth when Marco Scutaro singled to start the inning and pinch-runner Eric Young Jr. moved into scoring position on a sac-bunt by Herrera. After Gonzalez flied out, Eric O'Flaherty intentionally walked Tulowitzki, who then took second on defensive indifference to put men on second and third. Helton struck out to end the inning.
"We had chances to win before Hinske got the chance to hit the two-run home run," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "We were inches away, maybe less than inches."
Bourn has hit safely in 19 of his last 21 games...The Rockies fell to 36-46 all-time against the Braves in Denver...Jones batted second in lineup for first time this season...Hudson was tagged for seven runs -- six earned -- on six hits and three walks while racking up six punchouts over six innings...Moscoso gave up six runs on seven hits and three walks while fanning five in 4 1/3 innings...Colorado finished 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10.