ATLANTA (AP) _ Andres Galarraga quickly showed the Atlanta Braves what they were missing last year.
Galarraga, out last season because of a cancerous tumor in his back, hit a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh inning Monday that led the Braves to a season-opening 2-0 win over the Colorado Rockies.
Andruw Jones followed Galarraga’s 400-foot drive with another homer off Pedro Astacio.
Greg Maddux improved to 6-0 on opening day, allowing five hits in 7 2-3 innings. The four-time Cy Young winner struck out six and walked two _ both intentionally, and is 9-2 against Colorado.
With John Rocker starting his 14-day suspension, Mike Remlinger pitched 1 1-3 innings for his fourth career save. Rocker, penalized by commissioner Bud Selig for derogatory remarks against gays, foreigners and minorities, was introduced during pregame ceremonies, when the Braves received their NL championship rings, and was cheered.
Atlanta had just two hits off Astacio in the first six innings. Galarraga, then connected on a 1-0 pitch against his former team, and the 38-year-old first baseman jogged around the bases as the crowd of 42,255 stood and cheered.
The cheering got louder and louder as Galarraga made his way to the dugout and continued until he reappeared and doffed his cap to the crowd, about 8,000 below capacity due.
``I feel really good. I feel really comfortable,″ Galarraga said. ``I’m hoping to contribute all year.″
Galarraga drew his first standing ovation when the team was announced in pregame ceremonies, then drew another when he led off the second inning. He reached on that at-bat when he was hit by a pitch on the right hand on a 2-2 count. The crowd booed.
Galarraga finished 1-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts and showed he hadn’t lost any of his defensive prowess.
He leaped high to catch a liner off the bat of Todd Helton in the seventh, then made a diving stop near the line of Astacio’s one-hop smash with two outs in the inning after the Rockies had loaded the bases. That grab saved at least two runs.
Maddux had his most trouble in the seventh. Jeffrey Hammonds lined a two-out grounder off the pitcher’s right foot and the ball caromed into left field for a double. Neifi Perez then followed with an infield hit off Galarraga’s glove and Bret Mayne was walked intentionally to load the bases, setting up Galarraga’s diving stop of Astacio’s ball.
Astacio allowed six hits in 7 1-3 innings, dropping to 2-12 against Atlanta.
Notes: Galarraga, Eddie Perez and former Brave Ozzie Guillen simultaneously threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game. The three Venezuelan natives were honored for their efforts in raising money for their homeland which was devastated by winter flooding. ... The Braves have never been rained out at Turner Field, which opened at the start of the 1997 season. ... The Braves are 14-21 in season openers, but have won seven of nine since moving to Atlanta in 1966 (8-8 home, 6-13 road). The Rockies, in their eighth season, are 4-4, (3-3 road, 1-1 home). ... Colorado’s opening day roster included only six returning players from 1999′s opener: Astacio, LHP Brian Bohanon, INFs Todd Helton, Mike Lansing and Nefti Perez and OF Larry Walker.