Hinske homer in 11th lifts Braves past Rockies

DENVER – Eric Hinske tied a career high with four hits on Friday night, and the fourth one shook those still awake across Braves Nation.

The big man hit a tie-breaking, two-run homer in the 11th inning to lift the Braves to a 9-8 series-opening win at Coors Field — after they trailed by five runs in the first inning. Yes, the first inning.

Three hits and a go-ahead homer from Chipper Jones, four hits and a mammoth homer from Freddie Freeman, and another huge deficit overcome by the Braves, who out-hit the Rockies 19-4 after the first inning.

It’s a good win to start off this road trip,” Hinske said after the first of a nine-game, three-city swing. “I’m happy. I’m smiling. To do something like that in extra innings is great. I’ve been playing for a while now and I’ve only had a couple of walk-off home runs, but this is just as cool.”

It was another wild night to end a dizzying week for the Bravos, who scored 24 runs in a pair of extra-inning wins Wednesday and Friday — both of them lasting exactly four hours, both won by reliever Chad Durbin, both featuring 19 hits by Atlanta — sandwiched around getting shut out on three hits Thursday.

Go figure.

The Rockies scored a run in the 11th against closer Craig Kimbrel, who got into trouble after issuing a leadoff walk.

Second baseman Dan Uggla made a nice play to stop Todd Helton’s groundout, which drove in a run to cut the lead to 9-8. Michael Cuddyer grounded out to end the game with a runner at second base and Kimbrel got his ninth save.

Tim Hudson’s Coors Field woes continued when he gave up five runs in the first inning on four hits and two walks. But he settled down and the Braves got their bats going at one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks that ever housed a major league team.

“Huddy had a slow start and we said to him in the dugout, ‘Just keep us right there and we’re going to score some runs,’” Hinske said. “He did a great job of giving us extra innings after the first. He battled, he did a great job, and we got some timely hits. Good team effort at the plate. Everybody was hitting the ball. Freeman was doing his thing, Chipper, everybody. It was cool.”

Jones, who went 3-for-5 to raise his average to .300, said, “We fall down 5-nothing and we know we’re not out of it. We’ve just got to keep chipping away. We got away with some no-no’s here tonight. You can’t walk people and make errors. Huddy  walked a couple of guys in the first, and I made a costly error. But 19 hits cures a lot of ills.”

The win was only the second in five games for the Braves, who had dropped six of 11 since a 10-1 surge.

The Braves had a chance to win in the 10th after Michael Bourn’s leadoff double and a Jones walk put two on with none out. But Freeman lined out, Brian McCann grounded out, and Uggla struck out to end the inning.

Perhaps they just wanted to set the stage for the popular Hinske, who hit a towering homer off Edgmer Escalona that landed among the trees planted in the bullpen beyond right-center field.

It was his first homer of the season and the eighth four-hit game of his career for  Hinske, who played left field Friday in place of a flu-stricken Martin Prado. Hinske went deep on a 2-and-0 fastball, after Tyler Pastornicky led off the inning with the rookie’s first career pinch hit, a single.

“I’m just trying to go up there and see the ball well, put a good swing on it,” said Hinske, who is 10-for-13 in his past three starts, with three extra-base hits and four RBIs. “I got a good pitch to hit there in the last inning and got it up in the air. The nice Colorado air, with the backspin on the ball it keeps going.

“It’s fun. I’m just having fun. My focus is doing something that day I’m playing to help the team win, and today I did that.”

Freeman hit a two-run tape-measure homer in the third inning and the Braves scored four runs in the fifth inning to take the lead. Freeman has a staggering seven homers and 13 RBIs in nine career games against the Rockies.

The extreme momentum shift might have stunned the crowd at many places, but Rockies fans have seen similar offensive binges and lead changes so many times over the years at their mile-high ballpark, where long balls fly longer and dink hits drop in the spacious outfield.

“This place is awesome,” said Jones, who has a .329 career average with 13 homers and 56 RBIs in 57 games at Coors Field. “I love it. I’ve always loved it. As long as your mechanics are good and you’re not trying to hit the ball five miles instead of two, you can put up some big numbers here. I say that in jest, that it’s a rollercoaster ride when we come in here. But those games are fun.”

The Braves’ six-hit fifth inning included McCann’s two-run single and Hinske’s RBI double, one of three hits for the veteran bench player whose bat has scorched with his increased playing time lately.

But the key hit was the first of the inning, a one-out single by Bourn, after he and manager Fredi Gonzalez argued that a bunt initially ruled fair – Bourn was tagged out by the catcher — should’ve been foul.

The third-base umpire agreed, Bourn’s at-bat continued, and he singled up the middle to a chorus of boos. That began a string of four consecutive singles, capped by McCann’s that chased starter Guillermo Moscoso from the game. The right-hander was charged with seven hits and six runs – and a blown 5-0 lead — in 4-1/3 innings.

Uggla also played a big part in the inning by hustling to first to avoid a potential inning-ending double play. Jason Heyward followed with a single before Hinske’s double gave the Braves the lead.

In three days the Braves erased deficits of six and four runs (in Wednesday’s 15-13 win against Philadelphia) and five runs, the two offensive outbursts sandwiched around a three-hit shutout throws against them Thursday by Philadelphia’s Joe Blanton.

Hudson retired 11 consecutive batters after Dexter Fowler’s two-run, two-out single in the first inning, a streak snapped by Jonathan Herrera’s game-tying home run in the fifth.

“It’s usually always crazy game here,” said Hudson, who gave up six hits and seven runs (six earned) in six innings, as his ERA climbed to 8.04 in five starts at Coors, where he’s 0-2. “I knew if I could hold them to five and put up some zeroes, keep us in the game, that we were going to have a chance to win.

“I have all the confidence in the world in our guys right now, offensively. I felt like it was just a matter of time before we would be able to strike for a few and get to the starter and knock him out. The guys started putting together real good at-bats.”

Jones put the Braves back ahead 7-6 with his solo homer in the sixth inning, his fifth home run in his 59th at-bat — and his fourth homer that’s given his team a lead.

Jones, who is retiring after the season, was asked if he’ll miss Coors Field.

“No,” he said, with feined disgust. “This place is a rollercoaster ride from start to finish. I told Helton over there at first base tonight, man, the twists and turns and just the ups and downs that go with playing here – I’m worn out after three games here. He plays 81 a year.”

Hudson couldn’t hold the lead for an inning, in large part because of nemesis Helton, who had a two-run single in the first inning and a leadoff double in the sixth. That made Helton a remarkable 11-for-13 against Hudson in games at Coors Field.

After a fielding error by Jones and a sacrifice bunt, Hudson walked Dexter Fowler to load the bases. Tyler Colvin grounded to second base and narrowly beat the relay to first to avoid the double play as Helton scored the tying run.

As much of a pain as Helton has been for Hudson, Freeman has been nearly unstoppable for the entire Rockies pitching staff. His four hits made him 17-for-37 (.459) against them, with more than twice as many homers (seven) against Colorado than against any other team. He has hit more than one-fourth of his 27 career homers against a non-division opponent the Braves face in only two series per season.

Freeman has three homers and six RBIs in five games against them at Coors Field, and has been even more productive against the Rockies in Atlanta.

55 comments Add your comment

Durrtydogg

May 5th, 2012
12:48 am

Goooo Braves!!!

Durrtydogg

May 5th, 2012
12:50 am

I was first! WOW! First time ever. Well it is 1 in the morning. LOL!

Scrappy

May 5th, 2012
12:51 am

Freeman is a Beast!

Brave Decisions

May 5th, 2012
12:51 am

Wow, can’t believe we won with all the bad moves. http://wp.me/p2lqJ1-6c

Thanks again for reading and the great feedback!!

Who Me?

May 5th, 2012
12:59 am

Nice win for a team that sorely needs it. They can sleep well tonight with no travel in front of them tomorrow. Hinske is hitting like a man possessed, you gotta play him while he’s hot. But Uggla won the game stopping the hit for the 2nd out in the 11th.

JC Boscan III

May 5th, 2012
1:07 am

Great comeback, and great clutch HR by Hinske. But, curses, Kimbrel’s back to his old habit of creating his own fires and then hoping to put it out before we blow the game…… Whew!!!

robbcandy

May 5th, 2012
2:09 am

What an outstanding comeback!! But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, Kimbrel, stop issuing lead off walks in save situations!!!! They cost you a save against the phils last week and almost killed you and the team tonight! You have the best stuff of any closer in the league IMO and with a two run lead, throw your fastball across the plate and if they happen to catch one over the fence then in true freddie fashion you can “tip your cap” and move on to the next. But its amazing that after he goes on and on about not issuing lead off walks v the phillies, he goes and does it again. Its just so frustrating as a fan because he is SO good and watching him dig holes for himself is tough to watch! And its still early, but these are the type of fundamentals that burn a team in September!

mace224

May 5th, 2012
3:02 am

I’m scratching my head over why they didn’t pinch hit for Hudson when they brought a new pitcher in the next inning. Anyway, great game. Freeman, Pastornicky flat out stars.

Spud

May 5th, 2012
4:25 am

Calling Coors Field a hitter’s park is an understatement!

HOF 10

May 5th, 2012
4:29 am

Nice to wake up to another of these. Hinske seems to be a spring hitter, doesn’t he? Always starts out hitting like crazy. He is still good from July to October, but the first couple months he is unstopable.

We are experiencing the gowing pains of Kimbrel, but he is going to be something special once he gets it under control. I don’t know if you can have an approach where you just go out and throw fastballs down the middle. He has a great curve or slurve and you can see the hitters bail when he throws it. No one can touch his fastballs on the outer third. I only hope that once he gets it figured out we don’t lose him to free agency.

Freddie Freeman

May 5th, 2012
7:50 am

I would like to order more Rockies pitching please.

Peachtree John

May 5th, 2012
7:51 am

Great win Braves. At least one team in Atlanta can get it done.

BobDawg

May 5th, 2012
7:57 am

HOF 10… good post… Kimbrel is young and will get it under control. We want to win them all, don’t we?! Just doesn’t happen like that in baseball…

Sammy

May 5th, 2012
8:13 am

Give credit to Hudson for bouncing back after that horrible 1st inning and saving the bullpen. Not many pitchers could do that.

NickGranite

May 5th, 2012
8:22 am

With as many games Chipper has missed, he’s on a 30 homer, 96 RBI pace (we are at exactly the 1/6th pole). Are you sure you want to retire big guy?

Hurt Kurbstreit

May 5th, 2012
8:30 am

Hinske is on fire. Find a place for that man to play every day while he is red hot.

Joe Beach

May 5th, 2012
8:50 am

As well as Chipper can still hit that ball, it’s (almost) a shame that the NL doesn’t use the DH. He could hit for another 3 years in the bigs and pass 500 HR. Playing the field just hurts him too much now for a team to be able to rely on him.

ole dawg

May 5th, 2012
8:51 am

Yeah NickGranite, in today’s world those kind of numbers will get you a 10 year $100 mil contract. God… we have been so lucky to have Chipper with us for a great career!

iliketacos

May 5th, 2012
8:56 am

The DH should be outlawed. It’s a stupid rule that allows over the hill, out of shape has beens to hang on to their career years after it should have ended. Playing the field is 50% of the game. If playing a position 4-5 days a week is too much for your “knees”, go find a real job.

CRMAC300

May 5th, 2012
9:05 am

Maybe even the die hard Chipper haters will begin to appreciate him this year. It is obvious that he is not 100 percent, but he energizes the line up whenever he is able to play. I don’t care what the Braves are paying him, he is worth it. Wouldn’t all of you expect to make a little more money when you are on the job for 18 years? We will miss Chipper when he is gone! I named my dog after him!

jd56

May 5th, 2012
9:19 am

Durbin held them in the 10th. That is what he is asked to do. So many have not looked past the first three outings which took his ERA to an 18.00. Since then his ERA would be well under a 3.00. He is doing what he is paid to do, and many on here do not get it that not all of the players are super stars, but are still the best at what they do and deserve to be on the club. Durbin was smart enough to pitch outside on batters last night not giving up the big hit to allow a winning run to score. Haters only see them as outside bad pitches. Pitching smart is also a big part of winning.

Lobosolo

May 5th, 2012
9:28 am

jd56, many on here don’t get any part of the game at all…. they are just wont to cry…

Kendell Jones

May 5th, 2012
9:30 am

Just sorry I didn’t see the game. So glad we have a sports writer with the AJC that can write and describe all the happenings of the game. He has very special talents, and is to be commended for the way he describes the game.I went back to the top of the article, and found out his name is David O’Brien. Thanks David for the way you can describe the game. It is almost as good as being at the game.

P B Orr

May 5th, 2012
9:59 am

Agreed, DOB can certainly write about baseball when he’s motivated.

Robbcandy

May 5th, 2012
9:59 am

Obviously HOF 10 there was some sarcasim with my post of saying kimbrel should just throw fastballs down the middle. He is young, there will be growing pains, and at the end of the day very well may be one of the greats. However, and i am sure you agree, my point was simply that in a one run ball game of course you need to be careful, but up two and no one on, a homer can’t beat you so you should go after the batter rather than pitch like you don’t want to give up a hit. I am saying this without watching the game bc I am on vacation. So maybe he just had no control, lol.

joe

May 5th, 2012
10:02 am

Lobosolo..just shut up about the crying crap..thats your #1 BS on blog..stfup

BrandonLee49

May 5th, 2012
10:14 am

Awesome, Braves showed some maturity last night on never giving up, always looking for an opportunity to Win… Kudos to Hinske, You are DMan !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ramblinwreck80

May 5th, 2012
10:25 am

Fredi needs to tell Kimbrel the next time he walks a batter in a save situation, that he will yank his butt out of the game immediately…he needs to get across to Kimbrel that this is unacceptable…he let the Phils tie the game up the other night after a WALK…then last night another WALKED batter scored and the tying run was at 2nd base…thankfully the Braves were up by 2…not sure what Kimbrel’s issue is but he needs to figure it out…and fast…like Leo says, the closer’s role is to THROW STRIKES!!!

double

May 5th, 2012
10:55 am

Errors & Excuses with this team,when it rains it pours.Seems we need another ace pitcher.Also some Amish bats.

Samantha

May 5th, 2012
10:58 am

double, did you see the same game I did. The one I saw we won.

BrandonLee49

May 5th, 2012
11:03 am

“They are just wont to cry”, yes i understand that emotion, we cannot be several generations of Braves Fans, and Not understand how Frustrated we can get… but we hang in there, and Eventually we might even understand a Little Baseball Savvy, Like “Pitching on the outside of the plate- to keep the Power Away from the opposing bats”… Duh, one day maybe just a few of these bloggers can Gain an Ounce of wisdom.

BrandonLee49

May 5th, 2012
11:07 am

Good Ol Leo Maz.. his ghost forever paces the Third-base Coaches box, or cringes everytime another Reliever is called to get ‘Ready’… He is every bit as part and parcel of these Braves as he was when they won the World Series !!! Maybe we’ll get back there again, one day soon, hopeully.

IHEARTCARROLL

May 5th, 2012
11:47 am

On the road last night and missed missed everything after the 5th inning.

Was Heyward injured or was the Diaz swap just a regular sub type thing ?

TOMY FOURNIER

May 5th, 2012
11:50 am

AND…..WHY MR.DO’B NEVER MAKE ANY COMENTS ABOUT THE DUNKY’S DESITION OF MR.CLOWN-MORON”CUBANITO”, LETTING THE PITCHER GOING AT BAT WHEN WE HAVE THE OPORTUNITY TO MAKE MORE RUN OR TO ADVANCE THE RUNNERS TO RUNNING POSITION AND THEM IN THE NEXT INNING,HE MAKE A PITCHING CHANGE.THAT WAS A MESS AND FOR ME…HE IS THE WORST MANAGER IN THE BASEBALL LEAGUE…YES HE IS!!!!! MR DO’B IS TIME TO MAKE YOUR JOB FOR THE ATLANTA FAN…NOT FOR “THE MEDIAS”!!!!

IHEARTCARROLL

May 5th, 2012
12:06 pm

At the bottom of the AJC home page, there is a link to careers at the Atlanta Journal Constitution. If anybody doesn’t like the way Mr. O’Brein does his job, feel free to apply. At least Dave’s entire article was not written in UPPER CASE !

Largo

May 5th, 2012
12:23 pm

The Rockies had eight hits and one home run. The braves had three home runs and nineteen hits and we beat them by one run in eleven innings. Strange!!

Nick P

May 5th, 2012
12:25 pm

thesehigh scoring games can be fun,but makes worried aboutour bullpen inability to shut them down already in a youngseason,particularly O’Flaherty who is being hita lot and has givenquite a few runs already. Venters & Kimbrel are ok, but i still dont know why they walk so manyt freaking runners, do they lack focus or what?! i hope this is a different team fromlast year, but we are still kind of iffy when it comes to innings 7,8,9!

Samantha

May 5th, 2012
12:26 pm

@IHEARTCARROLL, Heyward was not hurt. It was just a swap when they bnrought in a new pitcher.

IHEARTCARROLL

May 5th, 2012
12:29 pm

Good morning Samantha, and thanks.

Samantha

May 5th, 2012
12:34 pm

You are welcome. How are you today. Are you ready for another victory tonite?

doninacworth

May 5th, 2012
12:40 pm

Now we have to know…never, never, never give up on these guys. I was one who called for Chipper to hang it up and give a younger player a chance but I have to adminow that HE IS STILL THE MAN!

IHEARTCARROLL

May 5th, 2012
12:44 pm

You bet, Samantha.

TOMY FOURNIER

May 5th, 2012
12:45 pm

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…..REALLY MR.”IHEARTCARROL”…APPLY BY YOURSELF…MAYBE YOU GET IT!!!!

IHEARTCARROLL

May 5th, 2012
12:46 pm

Enter your comments here

Samantha

May 5th, 2012
12:48 pm

WIN!!!WIN!!! Go braves!!!!

Largo

May 5th, 2012
1:19 pm

Interesting language you speak, TOMY and shouting doesn’t make it any easier to understand.

cowdogit

May 5th, 2012
2:16 pm

Enter your comments here

Lobosolo

May 5th, 2012
4:31 pm

Poor little joe… telling that you spell your name with a little j… a-wah, a-wah, a-wah… wring out your hanky, joe…. it’s a long season…. TOMY, TAKE YOUR MEDS NOW!!!!!

Samantha

May 5th, 2012
4:44 pm

@Lobosolo…..Do you like to be critical of everyone?

ThisThatnTheOther

May 5th, 2012
4:51 pm

I like Hinske. He’s one of the best clutch hitters on the team

Samantha

May 5th, 2012
4:55 pm

Agree, but dump Diaz.

buster brave

May 5th, 2012
5:30 pm

WHEN HE’S MOTIVATED ? HEE,HEE,HEE……. BREAK OUT THE POM POM’S DOB !! LMAO !!

Done

May 5th, 2012
8:32 pm

Mike Minor is pathetic!

TOMY FOURNIER

May 5th, 2012
9:06 pm

SORRY “CORTO”…I MEAN..”LARGO”

Done

May 5th, 2012
9:10 pm

Braves starting pitching needs help. So Bad!

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