DENVER – Before Tuesday, only two teams had ever scored three or fewer runs while collecting at least 15 hits in Coors Field history. Both clubs lost.

The Braves on Tuesday scored three runs on 15 hits – and won.

This is a testament to Charlie Morton, who continues to amaze at age 39.

Atlanta defeated the Rockies, 3-1. The Braves have won four of their first five games on this three-city, 10-game trip.

Five observations:

1. At Morton’s age, perhaps you work out every day. Maybe you play rec basketball. You might even be training for a marathon.

But pitching six innings of one-run ball at the toughest place in the sport for pitchers?


“It’s hard,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “This place is tough, man. It’s a tough place to pitch, as we all know and talk about when we get here, and we’ll talk about it the day before we get here next year.”

Added catcher Sean Murphy: “I don’t think he was affected at all by the Coors effect or whatever you want to call it. He just went out there and pitched the same game that he’s been pitching. He’s been doing that consistently, I feel like, over the last two months. He’s just been that same guy.”

Morton is the eighth pitcher to pitch at least six innings and allow one or fewer runs, at age 39 or older, in Coors Field history.

Some names on that list: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson.

“When I look at their career numbers, I’m like, ‘Man, I can’t imagine how my body would feel if I had that kind of wear and tear on my body at my age,’” Morton said. “I haven’t really thrown that many innings for how old I am, how many years I’ve started. Those guys had way more on their bodies than me. Plus, they’re legends. And I’m not. I’m just a guy that figured some things out in the last six or seven years.”

2. A few times, Morton and pitching coach Rick Kranitz have talked about pitching at Coors Field.

“Kranny’s a big fan of guys coming here and throwing breaking balls, and the reason for that is because this place will let you know where you are with your breaking ball,” Morton said. “If your release is off, if your spin is off, you’ll see it. You’ll see it in the shape, you’ll see it in the location. If you can buy into that and you can kind of let yourself experiment a little bit, it’s actually really beneficial to come here and throw. Because, like Kranny says, it’ll let you know – this place will let you know where your stuff is at.”

If that is the case, Morton should feel encouraged. He’s sometimes hard on himself, but his stuff is playing as well as ever.

Morton’s curveball produced 12 whiffs on 24 swings. Overall, the Rockies whiffed 21 times on 52 swings.

Earlier in the season, Morton was not satisfied with the shape of his breaking ball. He didn’t feature any deception. He couldn’t get it to break how he wanted.

“The breaking ball has gotten better,” Morton said Tuesday. “For a little while there, it was no swing and miss.”

That pitch was always good.

“I don’t know if it was ever gone, but Charlie likes the one he’s throwing right now,” catcher Sean Murphy said. “When he has confidence in it, it’s a good pitch. When he likes it, I like it.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

3. For the second time in his career, Marcell Ozuna is part of the 30-homer club. His 30th blast of this season came in the second inning, when he launched a solo shot off Peter Lambert.

“It feels amazing,” Ozuna said. “I don’t have any words to express the way I feel, to (have gotten) that goal. That’s a goal for every player to do in the season.”

In 2017, Ozuna hit a career-high 37 home runs for the Marlins. The Braves still have a month and change to play, so perhaps he can achieve a new career-best mark.

Ozuna drove in Atlanta’s third run with a fifth-inning, run-scoring single. In between his hits, Murphy drove in a run with a single in the second inning, after Ozuna’s homer.

4. The Braves’ starting pitchers took a lot of heat for a poor six-game stretch earlier this month.

Well, since the start of the New York series on Aug. 11, Atlanta’s starters have combined for a 2.98 ERA, which is the second-best mark in baseball over that span (Behind Seattle’s 2.92 ERA).

5. A night after a situation he admitted scared him a little bit, Ronald Acuña Jr. played nine innings without incident. There were no fans running onto the field this night.

On Monday night, the Denver Police Department arrested two men and charged them with trespassing and disturbing the peace. The Coors Field security was surely on high alert on Tuesday, but the teams played baseball without any distractions.

Acuña went 2-for-5.

Stat to know

19 - Morton’s scoreless streak ended at 19 innings. When it was going, it was the longest active run in baseball.


“We were saying, ‘You know what, a good curveball works here. Maybe a mediocre one doesn’t, but a good one does.’ And Charlie’s got one of the better ones, so I think that’s probably what that was all about.” -Snitker on Morton’s outing

Up next

Braves right-hander Darius Vines will make his MLB debut in Wednesday’s series finale, which begins at 8:40 p.m. ET. Lefty Kyle Freeland will start for the Rockies.

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