Gattis hits 2 HRs; Braves roll past Rockies 7-0
ATLANTA (AP) — The Braves’ big bear is healthy.
That was bad news for Colorado’s Franklin Morales.
After sitting out most of the week with an illness, Evan Gattis homered twice to support Julio Teheran’s six scoreless innings and Atlanta beat the Rockies 7-0 on Sunday.
Gattis was given the nickname “El Oso Blanco” — Spanish for “The White Bear” — as a rookie in 2013, when he hit 21 homers. He is on pace for a bigger year as he has replaced Brian McCann as the team’s primary catcher.
Gattis (6 foot 4, 260 pounds) drove in three runs with the two homers, giving him 10.
“He’s a big, strong boy,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Justin Upton and Chris Johnson added two-run homers for the NL East-leading Braves, who have won six of eight.
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki left the game in the eighth inning. He appeared to limp slightly while walking slowly off the field, accompanied by a trainer. He said he avoided an injury when he hit his left foot on his backswing.
“I think I’m all right,” Tulowitzki said.
Gattis missed four games with viral symptoms. He returned with no hits and a walk in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Rockies before hitting a homer in the second and a two-run shot in the fourth off Franklin Morales (3-4) on Sunday.
“I’ve got my strength back — or lucky,” Gattis said.
Teheran (4-3) began the day fourth in the NL in ERA. He lowered his average from 1.92 to 1.77 with six scoreless innings. He had seven strikeouts while allowing only four hits.
It was the second straight dominant win for Teheran, who was coming off his second shutout of the season, a 5-0 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday.
After throwing a career-high 128 pitches against the Brewers, Gonzalez limited the right-hander to 93 pitches on Sunday.
“That worked out great,” Gonzalez said.
“We want these guys for 35 starts, and he understood right away. We’ve got to keep an eye on these guys. We want them for the long haul.”
Anthony Vavaro pitched two perfect innings and Luis Avilan recorded the final three outs to complete the combined four-hitter.
Morales lasted only 4 2-3 innings, giving up five runs and three walks and five hits, including three homers. Johnson added to the lead with his two-run homer off Nick Masset in the eighth.
“This Atlanta club hits the ball in the seats,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “That’s what they do.
“A couple of balls got elevated and they hit them out.”
Gattis hit his first homer off Morales with one out in the second, a towering shot that sent center fielder Charlie Blackmon crashing into the wall near the 400-foot mark.
Upton walked with one out in the fourth before Gattis lined his second homer of the day about 12 rows deep into the left-field seats. Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez took one step to his right before standing and watching the homer quickly reach the seats.
“I tried to use both sides of the plate, but sometimes I missed my spots and that’s why I got hit,” Morales said.
Teheran didn’t look sharp early. Blackmon and Michael Cuddyer had back-to-back singles to open the game before Teheran recovered with three straight outs.
In the second, a single by Charlie Culberson and fielding error by second baseman Tyler Pastornicky on D.J. LeMahieu’s grounder put runners on first and second with one out.
Following a sacrifice by Morales, Teheran escaped the inning when shortstop Andrelton Simmons charged a grounder by Blackmon, who was out on a close play at first.
NOTES: The three homers allowed by Morales set a season high. ... Josh Rutledge replaced Tulowitzki at shortstop. ... ... Gonzalez said Pastornicky and Ramiro Pena are not in a strict platoon at second base. Gonzalez said Dan Uggla would start “whenever we feel we can get a good matchup.” ... The Braves open a two-game series against the Red Sox on Monday when RHP Ervin Santana faces Boston RHP Clay Buchholz. ... The Rockies move to Philadelphia, where RHP Jhoulys Chacin will face RHP Kyle Kendrick on Monday.