Braves roll over Rock­ies

The Standard Journal - - NATIONAL SPORTS - AP Sports Writer By Arnie Sta­ple­ton

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.

David Zalubowski / AP

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.

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