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Atlanta Braves Erase Memories of Rough Week with DH Sweep of Rockies

DENVER, CO - APRIL 23:  Craig Kimbrel #46 and Evan Gattis #24 of the Atlanta Braves celebrate after the final out of the game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  The Braves defeated the Rockies 4-3 in the first game of a doubleheader.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2013

We all knew that the Atlanta Braves' blazing hot 12-1 start would not last the rest of the month. On Tuesday in Denver, the Braves had questions surrounding them. 

After being shut out by the Royals at home last Wednesday and losing three consecutive games to the Pirates in Pittsburgh over the weekend, the Braves needed to reverse their recent losing fortunes. 

They did that and more in their doubleheader sweep Tuesday at a chilly Coors Field.

At the stadium that coined the term "hitters ballpark," the Braves hit three long balls in each game against the streaking, under-the-radar Rockies

The Rockies proved in Game 1 why they were 13-5 going into the doubleheader as they challenged the Braves, who won 4-3. 

Just like so many games this season, the long ball was the deciding factor. Justin Upton, Dan Uggla and Evan Gattis all went yard off Rockies starter Jeff Francis. 

One important aspect of the first win was the performance of Reed Johnson, who started in right field the day after Jason Heyward had an emergency appendectomy. 

With the struggling Heyward sidelined for at least 15 days, Johnson and Jordan Schafer, who went 2-for-4 in Game 2, gave the Braves more weapons to stash in their already-heavy offensive arsenal. 

Game 2 brought much of the same. Juan Francisco, who is one of the two players platooning at third base, smashed his fourth home run in the fourth inning. One inning after Francisco's shot, the Uptons became the first brothers to hit back-to-back home runs since 1938. 

With the 10-2 offensive outburst in Game 2, the Braves quelled any hints of a slump. The three-game slide in Pittsburgh did show some flaws, but with an important string of games ahead, the wins in Colorado were much needed. 

After their Wednesday matinee in Denver, the Braves have a day off to travel to Detroit for a three-game set with the Tigers. But they will avoid Justin Verlander, who starts Thursday against Kansas City. 

After the trip to Comerica Park, the Braves once again will have no room for error. The Nationals come to Turner Field to try to avenge the three-game sweep by the Braves two weeks ago in Washington, D.C.

With a treacherous six-game stretch ahead, the Braves could not have afforded to continue to slide down their slippery losing slope. Tuesday's sweep of the Rockies prevented that.

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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