Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Juan Nicasio struck out five in six scoreless innings to guide the Colorado Rockies to a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday to force a rubber match in this three-game set from Turner Field.
Nicasio (5-2) allowed just two hits and four walks to help the Rockies halt a season-long four-game slide. Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer both went yard while Charlie Culberson, making his first start of the season at third base for the injured Nolan Arenado, went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
The Rockies had lost seven straight in Atlanta.
"It was an extremely important game for us today," Cuddyer said. "Obviously, we haven't had too much success here over the years."
Arenado was placed on the DL prior to the game with a broken finger. He was injured sliding head first into second base in the second inning of Friday's 3-2 loss in the series opener. Arenado had started every game at third for Colorado and posted a 28-game hitting streak -- the longest in the majors -- earlier this season.
Mike Minor (2-3) was responsible for all three runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings.
"It was tough. (Nicasio) didn't fall into any patterns," said Atlanta third baseman Chris Johnson, who went 0-for-4. "He threw the ball in off the plate. He threw the ball away. It was tough to really get a feel for what he was trying to do today."
Cuddyer led off the second with a solo shot to left.
Tulowitzki padded the cushion with a solo blast in the sixth, and Culberson's controversial run in the seventh made it 3-0.
Culberson led off the visiting half of the seventh with a double to left and moved to third on D.J. LeMahieu's groundout. Charlie Blackmon stepped in as a pinch-hitter and grounded to first. Freddie Freeman scooped the grounder and fired to Evan Gattis behind the plate, in time to get Culberson. He was called out on the field, but a lengthy review following manager Walt Weiss' challenge ruled that Culberson slid under the tag and the Rockies were awarded the run.
Boone Logan was roughed up in 1/3 of an inning in the eighth, allowing a single to B.J. Upton and double to Freeman following Jason Heyward's strikeout. Adam Ottavino relieved Logan and limited the damage, serving up a Justin Upton sacrifice fly before fanning Gattis on three pitches to end the inning.
LaTroy Hawkins worked a 1-2-3 ninth to secure his 11th save.