Braves slide past Rockies, 3-2


By David O'Brien

By David O'Brien

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA (MCT) — Gerald Laird hadn't driven in a run all season before Thursday, but the Braves' veteran backup catcher showed twice in a span of about 25 hours why he remains a valuable piece on a team with championship aspirations.

Laird's two-out single in the eighth inning Friday lifted the Braves to a rousing 3-2 win in a series opener against the Rockies at Turner Field, their fifth win in six games and 13th in 15 games against Colorado since the start of the 2012 season.

On Thursday night, Laird's double drove in the first run of a three-run seventh inning in a 5-4 comeback win against the Brewers.

Laird has started four consecutive games in place of catcher Evan Gattis, who's recovering from a virus and expected back in the lineup this weekend. His hit Friday came just when it looked like the Braves would waste a golden scoring opportunity for the second consecutive inning in a tied game. They had loaded the bases and failed to score in the seventh inning.

In the eighth, Ramiro Pena led off with a double before Andrelton Simmons and Dan Uggla both struck out. But soon after the boos stopped following Uggla's third consecutive strikeout, Laird gave a crowd of 25,646 a jolt with his hit to left field for a 3-2 lead.

Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth inning to notch his 13th save, leaving him two shy of matching John Smoltz's franchise career record of 154 saves.

Gavin Floyd had his fourth impressive start in as many outings for the Braves, but the veteran right-hander is still looking for his first win. Floyd was charged with two runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven with no walks. He left with the score tied, and he's 0-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts after spending the first five weeks on the disabled list completing his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

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