On paper, the pitching matchup looked like a mismatch, and it was, though not in the way that was to be expected as the Rockies got to All-Star Shelby Miller early and often in a 5-3 win.
Gonzalez Germen made an emergency spot start for the Rockies after scheduled starter David Hale pulled his groin in Thursday's game and started well, getting through the top of the first inning in just eight pitches.
The Rockies' two All-Stars combined to give their team the lead in the bottom of the first when Nolan Arenado doubled home DJ LeMahieu, who had singled.
A career reliever, Germen pitched two more scoreless innings before leaving the game. He allowed just one hit and one walk in his three innings of work, throwing 34 pitches, 22 for strikes.
It was still 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth when Daniel Descalso, playing for Troy Tulowitzki, got his first triple since 2012 to bring home Nick Hundley and then scored on a Brandon Barnes single. After reliever Aaron Laffey was retired by Miller, Charlie Blackmon got the Rockies second triple of the inning, scoring Barnes. Blackmon then scored on a ground-rule double by LeMahieu, giving the Rockies a 4-0 lead.
After a second scoreless inning from Laffey, Carlos Gonzalez led off the bottom of the fifth against Miller with a solo home run to center, his 12th of the season, to give the Rockies a 5-0 lead. Miller pitched five innings, allowing five runs, all earned, on 11 hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. His ERA jumped from 2.07 to 2.38 in the course of those five innings.
Laffey ran into trouble in the sixth, giving up a hit to Cameron Maybin and hitting Nick Markakis with a pitch with one out before a three-run home run by Kelly Johnson cut the Braves' deficit to 5-3. After a Chris Johnson single, LaTroy Hawkins entered the game and got A.J. Pierzynski to ground into a double play, ending the threat.
The Rockies bullpen did its job from there, with four relievers combining to pitch 3⅔ shutout innings, including closer John Axford needing just eight pitches in a 1-2-3 ninth to secure his 16th save of the season.
The Rockies will look for a series win tomorrow as Jorge De La Rosa faces Matt Wisler.
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