Braves roll over Rockies
DENVER — While his teammates shivered and the mercury plummeted, Brandon McCarthy embraced Colorado’s wintry weather.
“Yeah, it felt like high school baseball. I don’t mind pitching in cold. I got used to it growing up,” McCarthy said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been back in it. It’s much easier for the pitcher than the hitter, so keep that in mind and get loose.”
McCarthy tossed six solid innings and delivered a two- run double that chased German Marquez in the fifth inning of the Atlanta Braves’ 8-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on a frigid Friday that marked the second-cold- est game in Coors Field history.
“The cold, it’s not something I’m scared of, it’s something I almost get excited for,” said McCarthy, who attended Cheyenne Mountain High School an hour south of Denver in Colorado Springs. “In the cold, it’s just something I know it sucks for hitters. And once I get loose it really isn’t that big of a deal for pitchers.”
It was 27 degrees when the Rockies’ home opener began after an hour-long delay caused by sleet and snow. That was just 4 degrees warmer than when these teams met in Denver on April 23, 2013, in the coldest first- pitch temperature in major league history.
The Braves won that one, 4-3.
McCarthy (2-0) allowed three runs and five hits, more than enough for the hot-hitting Braves, who lead the majors with a whopping 8-run average so far.
“Everybody’s doing their part,” McCarthy said. “Pinch-hitters are coming in doing it, pitchers have been hitting, the offense has been consistent.” No so the Rockies. Marquez ( 0- 1) following up a spectacular first start at Arizona by giving up seven runs, seven hits and six walks in just 4 2/3 innings.
“It was a little tough because I didn’t have my grip at all,” said Marquez, a 23-year-old Venezuelan who, unlike McCarthy, took the mound without long sleeves and never got a good feel for his pitches because of the finger-numbing cold.
Marquez allowed a solo homer to Ozzie Albies in the first and walked two batters before Preston Tucker’s sacrifice fly and Dansby Swanson’s tworun triple made it 4-0.
“It was my first time seeing snow. I was excited,” said Albies, who’s from Curacao. “I was acting like a little kid out there. I put the barrel on the ball. That was awesome.”
His mound opponent was used to it.
“Maybe growing up in Colorado and playing baseball in this weather all through high school helped? Holy RBI double!! Amazing,” tweeted McCarthy’s wife, Amanda.
Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson (left) slides safely into third base for a triple to drive in two runs as Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado turns to apply the tag.