No rally needed as Braves sweep Rockies

No rally needed as Braves sweep Rockies

No rally needed as Braves sweep Rockies
DENVER -- Without the completion of a significant comeback, the script was a little different. But the result proved to be quite familiar, thanks to Brandon Beachy's ability to conquer Coors Field and Freddie Freeman's inability to do anything wrong against the Rockies.

As the Braves completed an eventful three-game sweep with a 7-2 win over the Rockies on Sunday afternoon, Beachy looked like a future ace and Freeman provided his teammates further reason to believe they can consistently rely on his powerful bat.

"Freddie Freeman is an absolute beast," catcher David Ross said. "That guy is just amazing. I'd love to be like him one day."

Freeman's three-run homer in the third inning off Juan Nicasio provided the necessary support for Beachy, who was charged with two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old, who has a 1.62 ERA through his first six starts, was bidding for a one-hit shutout before finally encountering some trouble in the seventh.

By the time the Rockies scored their only two runs in the seventh, Freeman had already done enough damage against a Colorado staff that has four more months to find a different approach to use against him.

Freeman has batted .435 with eight home runs and a 1.558 OPS in 46 career at-bats against the Rockies. With this success, it seemed fitting that the first triple of his career came during the two-run sixth that gave the Braves some cushion in the series finale.

After driving Nicasio's slider to the right-center-field gap, Freeman proved that determination can sometimes be used as a substitute for speed when legging out a triple.

"I was halfway to second and he was still running after it," Freeman said. "So even if I did hit a wall, I still think I would have made it, even though the parachute came out around second base. But I still made it."

With Freeman and Beachy leading the way, the Braves won for the fourth time in five games and completed their first sweep at Coors Field since Aug. 22-24, 2003.

Unlike their three wins in the previous four days, the Braves won this one without having to erase a deficit of at least five runs.

"Today was a really good outing for Beach and the pitching staff also," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We had something that resembled more of a pitching game, instead of the past two nights."

After watching his starters combine to allow 14 runs during the first two games, Gonzalez could relax through the first six innings as Beachy limited the Rockies to Ramon Hernandez's third-inning single off the right-field wall.

Having thrown 88 pitches through the first six innings, Beachy showed some fatigue as he allowed four of the five batters he faced in the seventh to reach safely. The three singles he surrendered to Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Cuddyer and Ramon Hernandez tarnished his performance.

But Beachy still impressed as he avoided the Coors Field demons that haunted him last year. When he pitched in this offensive haven for the first time, he allowed six earned runs in just 4 2/3 innings.

"I remember last year, the ball might fly a little farther, but as far as my pitches, they worked pretty much the same [at Coors Field]," Beachy said. "I think I let that get to my head a little bit last year. If I stick to my game plan and hit my spots, I'm going to get guys out. I was able to do that in my first six [innings]."

After inheriting a bases-loaded, one-out situation from Beachy, Cristhian Martinez minimized the damage by recording consecutive ground-ball outs. The valuable right-handed reliever proved perfect over 2 2/3 innings and recorded the first save of his career.

"We swung the bats decent today," Tulowitzki said. "We hit into a lot of hard outs. We put a rally together late, we just didn't get that big hit. He did a good job. Obviously [Beachy's] numbers speak for themselves. He's solid."

Through his first six starts, Beachy has posted a 1.62 ERA and limited opponents to a .190 batting average. He has proven to be one of the National League's top pitchers through the season's first month.

"He's maturing as a young pitcher," Gonzalez said. "The more he goes out there, he learns."

The same can be said of Freeman, who has batted .356 with six homers and a .712 slugging percentage in his past 18 games. After the Rockies raised some eyebrows by hitting him with the first pitch he saw on Sunday, the young first baseman followed consecutive two-out singles in the third with a home run that traveled to the back of the Rockies' bullpen.

Freeman then damaged Nicasio again with the sixth-inning triple that capped the impressive contributions he once again produced at the expense of the Rockies.

"I don't know that he gets the hype that most guys do," Ross said. "But that guy is really good. The guy absolutely destroyed [the Rockies]. For them to hit him in the first at-bat, then he said, 'Oh yeah, I'm going to hit a homer and a triple, how you like that?' I would hate to [make him mad]."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.