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KC@ATL: Minor strikes out five over six strong frames

The third snowout in eight days Monday at Coors Field put the marquee matchup between the two teams with the Majors' best records (13-5) temporarily on ice, forcing the Braves and the surprising Rockies to play two on Tuesday in a split doubleheader.

Even though the wintery conditions are expected to clear overnight, the twin bill still figures to be a cold one as Tuesday's high is forecast for 36 degrees.

The delay to the start of the three-game series gave each club a chance to lick its wounds. The Rockies had an eight-game win streak snapped Sunday with a 5-4 loss to the D-backs, while the Braves, winners of 10 straight earlier in the season, have lost four of their last five, including three straight.

"I'm looking for a little disruption right now," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, welcoming the break in the schedule. "We just lost three in a row against the Pirates. It's all part of the game."

Atlanta, however, will be without right fielder Jason Heyward, who underwent an appendectomy on Monday. The club did not release a timetable for his recovery.

Taking the mound for the Braves in Game 1 will be Mike Minor, who has been as impressive as any pitcher in the Majors through his first three starts of the season. The 25-year-old has allowed just two runs over 19 combined innings, good enough for a 0.95 ERA.

The lefty took a hard-luck loss his last time out against the Royals when he surrendered just one run on five hits over six innings as the Braves fell, 1-0.

Opposing Minor for the Rockies will be Jeff Francis. Following a dominant six-inning, one-run victory over the Padres on April 5, the left-hander hasn't been very good since. Francis gave up seven runs (four earned) to the Giants, then surrendered eight runs (six earned) to the Mets his last time out.

New York held an 8-2 lead in the game, but the Rockies came back to win it.

"It speaks volumes about our club," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said afterward. "These guys compete. They enjoy competing, even in extremely difficult conditions. Getting down by six, they found a way to win a game."

In the nightcap, it'll be Julio Teheran for the Braves matched up against Jon Garland for the Rockies.

For how dominant the Atlanta pitching staff has been so far this season, Teheran hasn't been able to keep pace. The right-hander is winless in three starts, allowing a combined 13 earned runs over 16 innings. Perhaps most troubling for Teheran pitching in the high altitude of Coors Field is that he has already given up five home runs this year.

On the other hand, Garland has been fairly consistent for the Rockies, who have won each game the right-hander has started. Garland has surrendered no more than three runs in an outing so far in 2013, defeating the Mets his last time out by tossing seven strong innings and giving up just two runs on six hits.

Braves: Freeman activated, Carpenter optioned
Freddie Freeman will return from the disabled list Tuesday after being activated Monday. The first baseman, who was placed on the 15-day DL on April 7 with a strained right oblique, made three rehab starts with the Triple-A Gwinnett, batting 5-for-10 with two doubles and two RBIs.

To make room for Freeman, the Braves optioned David Carpenter to Triple-A.

In 15 career games against the Rockies, Freeman has hit .351 (20-for-57) with 18 RBIs and eight homers.

Rockies: Helton could end up on DL
The Rockies will be closely watching the health of first baseman Todd Helton, who has missed two straight games and received an anti-inflammatory shot because of a left forearm strain. Helton was not planning to play Monday, and if he doesn't feel better Tuesday, the 15-day disabled list is a possibility.

Helton is batting .268 with a homer and 10 RBIs this season.

Worth noting
• The Braves' pitching staff has a Major League-leading 2.36 team ERA.

• The Rockies have gotten 11 quality starts from their rotation over the first 18 games of the season. Comments