ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
AP photo by David Zalubowski / Atlanta Braves starter Charlie Morton pitches during the sixth inning of Sunday's game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver. Morton allowed two runs, two hits and two walks while striking out three batters in seven innings, and the Braves won 9-2 to split a four-game series in Colorado.

DENVER — Ozzie Albies homered on the first pitch of Ryan Feltner's MLB debut, and the Atlanta Braves added three more home runs in a 9-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday as the teams split their four-game series.

Travis d'Arnaud, Adam Duvall and Austin Riley also went deep for Atlanta, and Charlie Morton (13-5) allowed two runs on two hits as he pitched seven strong innings to help the Braves maintain a two-game lead over the second-place Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East Division.

Atlanta is seeking a fourth straight NL East title, and even without gaining any ground on the Phillies, the lopsided win was a welcome development for the Braves. Their past five games had been decided by one run, with four of them losses.

"We needed a win today and we needed an offensive game, which we got," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Charlie was just really, really good. That was a big win for us."

Raimel Tapia had the only two hits in the game for the Rockies, who scored their runs on an RBI grounder by Brendan Rodgers and a sacrifice fly by Ryan McMahon. Morton, a 37-year-old right-hander, walked two batters and struck out three.

"He understands what a game plan is and also understands when he has to wing it if he doesn't have a certain pitch, and he's able to execute in that situation as well," said d'Arnaud, who caught Morton. "I don't think any moment is too big for him. Whenever we need him, he always shows up."

Feltner (0-1), who made the jump from Double-A Hartford to start in place of injured Austin Gomber, could not get out of the third inning. He allowed five hits — three of them homers — and six runs in 2 2/3 innings.

"Obviously, he'd like to have a couple of pitches back, but I thought he showed a lot of poise, composure," Rockies manager Bud Black said.

The Braves scored five runs in the third off Feltner and three in the seventh off Julian Fernandez. Albies began the barrage with his third homer in three games.

"My main focus for today was just pound the zone, be aggressive in the zone," Feltner said. "I did that for the most part, and obviously the first pitch, I was just trying to get a strike over and he connected with it."

It was the first time a starter had given up a home run on the first pitch of his Major League Baseball debut since the Miami Marlins' Robert Dugger allowed a leadoff homer to the New York Mets' Jeff McNeil on Aug. 5, 2019.

Morton singled to start the third, Jorge Soler singled and Freddie Freeman walked to load the bases. Riley hit a sacrifice fly and Duvall connected on a 2-2 offering from Feltner for his 31st homer of the season. D'Arnaud, who had a pinch-hit homer in the ninth Saturday night, followed with a drive that cleared the fence in center field, chasing Feltner with the Braves leading 6-0.

Freeman hit an RBI single in the seventh ahead of Riley's two-run homer. Atlanta's Richard Rodriguez pitched a perfect eighth and Edgar Santana duplicated the feat in the ninth to wrap up the victory.

The Braves, who finished a week-long road trip 2-5 — they were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers before heading to Denver — are off Monday before hosting the last-place Washington Nationals for a three-game set. Atlanta has not announced a starter for Tuesday night's series opener.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT