Hinske homers as Braves beat Rockies 9-8 in 11

Associated Press Modified: May 5, 2012 at 2:01 am •  Published: May 5, 2012
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DENVER (AP) — Chipper Jones will miss a lot of things about baseball when he retires after this season.

Crazy games at Coors Field won't be one of them.

"This place," Jones said, shaking his head. "Man."

It was another wacky affair at a ballpark known for being just that — wacky.

Eric Hinske had four hits, including a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 11th inning, and the Atlanta Braves outlasted the Colorado Rockies 9-8 on Friday night.

Afterward, Jones plopped into his seat, completely drained. He couldn't imagine playing these types of four-hour games here on a regular basis, and told Todd Helton just that during a conversation at first base.

"This place is a roller-coaster ride from start to finish," Jones said. "The ups and downs that go with playing here, I'm worn out after three games here. (Helton) plays 81. It's crazy."

Jones was the guest of honor as the Rockies rolled out the red carpet for him with a brief ceremony prior to first pitch. The longtime Braves third baseman announced in spring training he will retire after the season.

But his teammate stole his thunder.

"Fine by me," said Jones, who had a solo homer in the sixth. "As long as we get it done."

Hinske, inserted into the lineup because Martin Prado was sick, made the most of his start.

After pinch-hitter Tyler Pastornicky singled to begin the 11th, Hinske sent a 94-mph fastball from Edgmer Escalona (0-1) into the Rockies' bullpen for his first homer of the season.

"Put a good swing on it," said Hinske, whose four hits tied a career high. "The nice Colorado air — put some backspin on the ball and it keeps going."

Chad Durbin (2-0) worked his way out of a jam in the 10th to earn the win and Craig Kimbrel survived a shaky 11th for his ninth save in 10 chances. Kimbrel gave up an RBI groundout to Helton before getting Michael Cuddyer to roll out to end the game.

The Braves' bullpen was solid all night after starter Tim Hudson departed. All combined, they allowed just two hits and one run in five innings of work.

Kris Medlen pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings before giving way to Eric O'Flaherty with two outs in the eighth. The lefty then got a big strikeout of pinch hitter Jason Giambi, who was the hero on Wednesday when he hit a walk-off homer in an 8-5 win over Los Angeles.

O'Flaherty also struck out Helton in the ninth to end a threat with the winning run standing on third.

The heart of the Braves' order had quite a game as Jones, Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann combined for eight hits, two homers and six RBIs.

Hudson was making his second start of the season after rehabbing for most of April as he recovered from an offseason surgery to fix a herniated disk in his back.

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