for this game

Escobar helps Braves sweep Rockies

Sep 12, 2008 - 3:36 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Yunel Escobar and Brian McCann led the Atlanta Braves to their first sweep at home in more than three months.

Escobar highlighted a five-run sixth inning with a three-run homer after McCann singled home the go-ahead run earlier in the frame, helping the Braves to an 8-4 comeback win over the struggling Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

Gregor Blanco drove in a pair of runs and Casey Kotchman and Omar Infante each added an RBI for Atlanta, which posted just its second three-game winning streak since the All-Star break and recorded its first sweep at home since May 20-22 against the New York Mets.

"I didn't know (it had been that long)," Braves starter Jair Jurrjens said. "I don't follow that. It's awesome the way we've been playing, everybody is chipping in. It's like how it's supposed to be."

Home has been where the losses have piled up for the Braves, who have struggled at Turner Field since early June, winning just 13 of their 38 games here entering this three-game set against the Rockies. The problems quickly erased the memories of the early part of the year, when Atlanta owned the best home record in the National League.

The Braves finally won a home series in the second half here against the Florida Marlins in late August before splitting a pair of games with the lowly Washington Nationals.

Trailing by a run after 5 1/2 innings, Atlanta sent eight batters to the plate during their pivotal rally. Blanco led off the sixth with a double off reliever Glendon Rusch (5-5) and stole second before scoring the tying run on pinch hitter Infante's sacrifice fly.

Kelly Johnson followed with a two-out triple before Rusch elected to intentionally walk Chipper Jones, who entered the contest one point ahead of St. Louis' Albert Pujols in the race for the NL batting crown. Jones finished 1-for-4 to bring his average to .362, while Pujols fell to .360 after a 1-for-5 performance in the Cardinals' 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

The move backfired, however, as McCann sliced a 1-2 offering from Rusch the opposite way to left field for a base hit, plating Johnson with the go-ahead run. Escobar followed by depositing a 2-1 pitch into the left field bleachers off Matt Herges for his 10th homer of the season.

"Escobar's three-run home run was huge," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "Escobar's swinging the bat better. With two outs, you never know."

The rally made a winner of Jurrjens (13-9), who yielded four runs and eight hits in six innings. The righthander walked two and recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts.

"It was awesome," Jurrjens said of his strikeout total. "I promised my cousin that I was going to get at least one (double-digit strikeout game) this year, and I finally did."

Jurrjens, who was lifted for a pinch hitter during the sixth-inning rally, now has a debt to pay to his teammates for getting him his 13th win.

"I told them I was going to buy them dinner," he said. "These are the games we need to have. This is a game we won as a team. It was a fun comeback."

In a season lost to injuries, the Braves have been relegated to the spoiler role down the stretch. Atlanta passed its first of five tests against teams within six games of a playoff spot by helping dim the Rockies' remote playoff chances.

"We're playing spoiler," Johnson said. "There's one we kind of spoiled."

It was a miserable trip for the Rockies, whose losing streak reached five games and put them 8 1/2 behind the NL West Division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (75-71). Colorado hosts a three-game set against Los Angeles beginning Friday.

"It was a tough series to get swept here," Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki said. "We're not making it real easy on ourselves. We don't control our own destiny anymore. We'll need help from others."

"We're not close in the race, especially after getting swept by the Braves," added Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who allowed three runs and five hits in five innings. "We can't be losing any more games."

The Braves' quest to alter the playoff race continues on Friday as they travel to Shea Stadium for one final time to face the Mets. New York (82-63) holds a three-game advantage over the Philadelphia Phillies (80-67) in the NL East.

Except for Jones, who named his son Shea after the aging ballpark and is hoping to come back to Atlanta with a sign from the venue, not many Braves will be sad to see Shea Stadium go.

"I'm looking forward to the new one," Cox said. "It doesn't have the history of Wrigley (Field) or Fenway (Park) and the old Yankee Stadium."

Brad Hawpe belted his 25th homer and Matt Holliday went 3-for-4 with two RBI for the Rockies, who were swept in Atlanta for the first time since 2004.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    COLORADO 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 11 2
    ATLANTA 0 2 0 0 1 5 0 0 x 8 9 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: COL - UBALDO JIMENEZ, GLENDON RUSCH (6TH), MATT HERGES (6TH), JASON
    GRILLI (7TH), BRIAN FUENTES (8TH) AND CHRIS IANNETTA
    ATL - JAIR JURRJENS, JORGE JULIO (7TH), JUL

    Sep 11 10:01 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY YUNEL ESCOBAR (10) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 6TH OFF MATT HERGES SCORED CHIPPER JONES AND BRIAN MCCANN.
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 4, ATLANTA 8
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: C KOTCHMAN (.185, 1-FOR-2, HBP, RBI)

    Rockies 4, Braves 8  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 11 9:19 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BRIAN MCCANN SCORED KELLY JOHNSON.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, B MCCANN ON FIRST, C JONES ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 4
    ATLANTA 5 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: Y ESCOBAR (.289, 2-FOR-2, BB)

    Rockies 4, Braves 5  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 11 9:15 PM
  • 5
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 25 roots

    Rockies 4, Braves 5  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 11 9:15 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY OMAR INFANTE SCORED GREGOR BLANCO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 4
    ATLANTA 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: K JOHNSON (.279, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Rockies 4, Braves 4  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 11 9:10 PM
  • 30
    roots
    nate1152 Added 5 roots

    Rockies 4, Braves 3  Top 6, 0 OutsSep 11 8:57 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY CASEY KOTCHMAN SCORED CHIPPER JONES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, Y ESCOBAR ON SECOND, B MCCANN ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 4
    ATLANTA 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J FRANCOEUR (.233, 0-FOR-2)

    Rockies 4, Braves 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 11 8:50 PM
  • 25
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 25 roots

    Rockies 4, Braves 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 11 8:36 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY BRAD HAWPE (25) TO CENTER WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF JAIR JURRJENS.
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 4, ATLANTA 2
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: G ATKINS (.290, 1-FOR-2, RBI)

    Rockies 4, Braves 2  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 11 8:33 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY GARRETT ATKINS SCORED MATT HOLLIDAY.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, G ATKINS ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 3
    ATLANTA 2 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: I STEWART (.289, 0-FOR-1)

    Rockies 3, Braves 2  Top 3, 0 OutsSep 11 8:00 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MATT HOLLIDAY SCORED WILLY TAVERAS AND JEFF
    BAKER.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M HOLLIDAY ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 2
    ATLANTA 2 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: B HAWPE (.291, 0-FOR-1)

    Rockies 2, Braves 2  Top 3, 0 OutsSep 11 7:57 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY GREGOR BLANCO SCORED BRIAN MCCANN AND YUNEL
    ESCOBAR.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, G BLANCO ON FIRST, C KOTCHMAN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 0
    ATLANTA 2 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J JURRJENS (.111, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Rockies 0, Braves 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsSep 11 7:45 PM