Homers heat up frigid opener
by Dennis Georgatos
Associated Press Sports Writer
April 24, 2013 12:48 AM | 690 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Justin Upton had two of the six homers the Braves hit Tuesday in their sweep of a doubleheader at Colorado.
<Br>Associated Press photo
Justin Upton had two of the six homers the Braves hit Tuesday in their sweep of a doubleheader at Colorado.
Associated Press photo
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DENVER — B.J. Upton and his brother Justin hit back-to-back homers for the first time, leading the Atlanta Braves past the Colorado Rockies 10-2 Tuesday night to complete a doubleheader sweep that began with the coldest game at Coors Field.

It was the 27th time in major league history that brothers homered in the same game, but only the second time they went deep in consecutive at-bats. Lloyd and Paul Waner of the Pittsburgh Pirates also accomplished the feat on Sept. 15, 1938.

In the first game, Justin Upton, Dan Uggla and rookie Evan Gattis homered in support of a solid outing by Mike Minor as the Braves won 4-3 in a game that began with a temperature of 23 degrees.

The weather warmed up for the night game — but only a bit. It was 30 degrees at first pitch.

In the nightcap, B.J. Upton homered to left field off Jon Garland to start the fifth inning, his third of the season. Justin Upton drove Garland's next pitch to center for his major league-leading 11th home run.

The Uptons have homered in the same game three times this season. They each added another RBI, B.J. on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly and Justin on a ninth-inning double that was part of a four-run burst.

The Braves outhomered the Rockies 6-0 in taking both games from Colorado, which entered the twinbill tied with Atlanta for the best record in baseball at 13-5.

Julio Teheran (1-0) made the most of his offensive support in the nightcap, allowing one run over seven innings to quiet the Rockies, who have lost three in a row at Coors Field since an 8-0 start at home.

The Braves also got a home run and run-scoring double from Juan Francisco. His two-run shot in the fourth came after Freddie Freeman drew a one-out walk. Colorado had broken on top with an RBI single by Michael Cuddyer in the third.

Garland (2-1) went six innings and allowed six runs on 10 hits.

Reed Johnson, playing right field for Atlanta because Jason Heyward underwent an appendectomy Monday night, went 4 for 4 with three doubles. Heyward was put on the 15-day disabled list.

The matchup featured baseball's hottest teams — in the coldest game-time temperature in the majors since such data collection began in 1991, according to STATS. The Rockies said the previous low at Coors Field was 28 degrees.

Donning a short-sleeve jersey with his standard T-shirt underneath while many of the other players were bundled up, Minor (3-1) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. He said he decided against warmer attire because he wanted the same freedom of movement he feels with his arms uncovered.

“I don't know what it is, but with (long) sleeves on, I feel restricted,” he said. “It's just a feeling and you want to feel comfortable out there.”

To a degree, anyway.

“It was all right,” Minor said. “The biggest thing was grip, just being cold and dry. I pretty much just battled through it.”

At one point, Minor acknowledged he got so cold that he had a trainer rub his back, arms and thighs with a heating ointment.

“I was burning up there,” he said with a smile.

By the time Craig Kimbrel pitched a one-hit ninth for his eighth save in eight chances, the temperature had warmed up to 27.

Gattis hit a tiebreaking home run in the fourth and ended the game by throwing out Wilin Rosario trying to steal second.

Jeff Francis (1-2) gave up four runs and six hits in four innings, leaving him with an 8.44 ERA.

Ground crews began working around 6 a.m. to clear several inches of snow from the playing surface at Coors Field, which opened in 1995. While there was no sign of snow on the field when the game started, some parts of the ballpark remained closed, including the snow-filled Rockpile section in center. Workers hosed off the snow on the stand of evergreen trees beyond the center-field wall. It was important that the trees be cleared of the snow because they're part of the green batters’ eye background.

It's been a wintry April for Denver, which has been hit by a wave of snowy weather over the past nine days that forced postponements of games three times. The delays led to two doubleheaders within a week.

Justin Upton hit a solo drive in the first, and Uggla's two-run homer in the second made it 3-0. Colorado closed in the second on Rosario's run-scoring groundout and Jordan Pacheco's RBI single, then tied the score in the third when Dexter Fowler tripled to the right-field wall and Josh Rutledge singled.

NOTES: Freeman played both ends of the doubleheader after being activated from the DL on Monday following his recovery from a strained right oblique. ... INF Tyler Pastornicky was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill Heyward's roster spot. ... Gattis leads all major league rookies with six home runs and has homered in every park he's played in so far (Colorado, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Washington and Miami). ... Rutledge stole his fifth base in the first game, adding to the Rockies’ league-leading total of 18. ... The Rockies were 0-3 at home against the Braves last year and 1-6 overall. ... It isn't always freezing at Coors Field. According to the Rockies, the hottest game played here since the park's 1995 opening was 100 degrees last June 25 when Colorado hosted Washington.
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