ATLANTA (AP) -Straggling in late from a West Coast road trip, the Atlanta Braves were too tired to even take batting practice.
They got plenty of extra swings in the game.
Jason Heyward and Melky Cabrera each had two hits during a seven-run second inning, and the Atlanta Braves cruised past the Colorado Rockies 9-5 Friday night for their third straight win.
``Sometimes it works out like that,' said Atlanta catcher David Ross, who batted twice in the second. ``You get in late, so you just muster all the energy you can and go get 'em.'
Eric Hinske drove in three runs and Chipper Jones homered for the Braves, who again made things easy for Derek Lowe (3-0). In Lowe's three starts, Atlanta has scored 32 runs; the other four starters have gotten a total of 24 runs.
The 20-year-old Heyward led off the second against Jason Hammel (0-1) with a single to center and came around to score. He singled again before the inning was done, knocking out Hammel. Cabrera followed each of Heyward's hits with single of his own, the second driving in the final two runs of the big inning.
Colorado bounced back from an 8-0 deficit, cutting the lead in half on pinch-hitter Seth Smith's three-run homer in the fifth. Lowe lasted 5 1-3 innings, giving up seven hits and four runs (three earned). Eric O'Flaherty worked 1 2-3 innings, allowing a run, and Kris Medlen finished up with two scoreless innings, striking out three.
``Derek threw real good,' Ross said. ``But it's hard to stay focused when you get that big a lead. You're just throwing fastballs because you don't want to walk anybody. It's not really pitching anymore. Sometimes it's a curse to get all those runs, though I'm sure he'll take them.'
Hammel was charged with all seven runs in the second. He surrendered eight hits and walked three, retiring only five batters before getting yanked.
``He was very ineffective,' Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. ``He had no secondary pitch he could get over the plate.'
After Heyward's first hit, Cabrera followed with a liner off Hammel's glove and Ross dumped a single into center field to bring home Heyward. Lowe moved the runners along with a sacrifice bunt, and it looked as if Hammel might escape a really big inning when Nate McLouth hit a sacrifice fly to left, making it 2-0 but with two outs.
Turns out, the Braves were just getting warmed up.
Martin Prado and Jones both worked Hammel for walks, loading the bases, and Hinske followed with a two-run single to right to make it 4-0. Yunel Escobar drove in another run with an infield single and Heyward, getting up again, singled sharply to left to reload the bases.
That was it for Hammel, who threw only 34 strikes in 67 pitches. Manuel Corpas took over, but Cabrera became the second Atlanta batter with two hits in the inning when he ripped his two-run single to right. Ross flied out to finally end a torturous inning for the Rockies.
``I had already put my shin guards back on with one out,' Ross said. ``Then I had to take them back off.'
Prado had two more hits, giving him 19 for the season and matching Deion Sanders for the most hits by an Atlanta player in the first 10 games. The second baseman has hit safely in every game and has a 14-game streak going back to last season.
Prado said he's surprised to be hitting so well. Watching video, he recently discovered a flaw in his swing and said this was one of the first games where he really felt comfortable at the plate.
Jones, who came into the game hitting just .150, scoffed when told of Prado's critical self-assessment.
``Prado is a hitting machine,' Jones said. ``I've got mechanical issues. He doesn't have any mechanical issues.'
Both pitchers wiggled out of big trouble in the first.
Dexter Fowler led off the game against Lowe with a double, and Ryan Spilborghs followed with a single that moved Fowler to third. But Todd Helton struck out swinging on a pitch fading out of the zone, Spilborghs was thrown out trying to steal second and Troy Tulowitzki waved at strike three to end the threat.
In the bottom half, Atlanta loaded the bases with one out, stringing together a pair of singles and a walk. But Escobar grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Hammel wasn't so fortunate the next inning.
``I've never felt so ineffective with my fastball,' he said. ``It was there, and then it wasn't.'
NOTES: The Rockies purchased the contract of LHP Joe Beimel from Colorado Springs. RHP Esmil Rogers was optioned to the Triple-A team. ... Colorado also shifted RHP Taylor Buchholz from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list. Buchholz did not pitch last season and is still recovering from elbow surgery. ... While the team was on the road trip, the Braves jazzed up the home clubhouse with pictures of great moments in franchise history above the lockers. Among the images: Hank Aaron's 715th homer and several photos of the celebration after Atlanta's only World Series championship in 1995. ... Braves C Brian McCann hung up a a boxing championship belt in his locker - for fantasy football? McCann bought the belt off eBay, honoring himself as heavyweight champion of the ABFL (Atlanta Braves Football League).
The Associated Press News Service
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