ATLANTA (AP) - The short-handed Colorado Rockies, held to only singles as they played without two of their top hitters, couldn't afford to give up a three-run double - especially to the opposing starting pitcher.
Freddie Freeman's third homer in two games gave Atlanta the early lead, Derek Lowe hit a three-run double and the Braves beat Colorado 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Lowe (5-6) gave up three runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings and pushed the lead to 4-0 with his bases-loaded double in the fourth. Lowe's hit drove in Chipper Jones, who doubled, and Dan Uggla and Nate McLouth, who both walked.
``As you look back on these games, those three runs are huge,' Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
``We had opportunities, but they turned us away. As short-handed as we are right now, you would have loved to have had those three runs back, that's for sure.'
The Rockies outhit the Braves 9-7 but had no extra-base hits as Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki were held out with injuries.
Gonzalez missed his second straight game after he bruised his right wrist on Sunday. Tulowitzki was held out after leaving Monday night's game with a strained quadriceps. Neither player is expected to be placed on the disabled list.
``I laud the effort, as short-handed as we are,' Tracy said. ``There's a ton of baseball left. We've got to find a way to win a few ballgames.'
Before the game, Tracy said his immediate goal was ``to do whatever we have to do to keep our heads above water.'
Freeman, who had two homers in Atlanta's 4-1 win in Monday's series opener, hit his 12th homer to center field off Jhoulys Chacin in the second inning.
Uggla added his 13th homer in the sixth.
Chacin (8-6) matched his career high with six walks for the second time in his last three starts. He gave up four hits and four runs in five innings.
``I just couldn't control my pitches,' Chacin said. ``My fastball and breaking ball, they were falling off the plate. If you don't make your pitches, you start walking people.'
Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 26th save for the Braves, who have won seven of their last eight.
Mark Ellis had three hits, including an eighth-inning single to give the Rockies runners on first and second. Ian Stewart's groundout advanced the runners before Jonny Venters struck out Chris Iannetta and Jason Giambi - each on called third strikes - to end the threat.
Stewart, recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs to begin his third stint of the season with the Rockies, started at third base and was 0 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.
``This is an ideal opportunity for Ian Stewart,' Tracy said. ``The guy knows how to knock in a run. He knows how to take an at-bat.'
Stewart began the season as a starter but has hit only .064 in 21 games. He was sent to Colorado Springs on April 19, recalled on May 3 and sent back to the minors on May 13. He hit .256 with 18 homers and 61 RBIs in 2010.
A groundout by Chacin and Charlie Blackmon's run-scoring single helped Colorado pull within 4-2 in the fifth. Ianetta added a run-scoring single in the sixth.
NOTES: Braves OF Martin Prado could begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday if given the go-ahead from his physical therapist. Prado has been out since June 8 with a staph infection in his right calf. ... Lowe has five hits this season, including three doubles. ... OF Cole Carner was optioned to Colorado Springs after only one game with the Rockies. ... Jonathan Herrera, who filled in for Tulowitzki, had two hits. ... Lowe posted his 1,600th career strikeout against Seth Smith in the second.
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