DENVER (AP) — Christian Bergman had a strong start to his major league career. He just didn’t have a winning one.
Bergman threw six effective innings in his first big-league game Monday night but it wasn’t enough to stop Colorado’s slide in a 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Bergman, called up earlier Monday from Triple-A Colorado Springs to fill in for the injured Jordan Lyles (broken left hand), allowed two runs and five hits but took a hard-luck loss.
“Overall it went pretty well. It’s good to get the first one out of the way,” Bergman said. “The first two innings the nerves were there. I was able to overcome that and settle in the last two innings. The only thing that would have made it better is if we came out with a win.”
The Rockies have lost 10 of 11 and 14 of 17.
Bergman is the fourth Rockies pitcher – and third starter – to make his major league debut this season. Originally a 24th-round draft pick out of the University of California Irvine in 2010, Bergman (0-1) struck out four and walked two in a solid outing that included singling in the third for his first major league hit.
“I thought Bergman was outstanding,” manager Walt Weiss said. “Certainly pitched well enough to win but we got shut down by Floyd.”
Gavin Floyd didn’t face the same Colorado lineup that started the season. The Rockies have been decimated by injuries in the last month, losing third baseman Nolan Arenado (broken left finger), left fielder Carlos Gonzalez (left index finger) and outfielder Michael Cuddyer (left shoulder).
Arenado, expected to miss at least another month, is the healthiest of the three. Gonzalez will have exploratory surgery on his finger in Cleveland on Tuesday and an MRI on Cuddyer’s shoulder revealed a fracture in the socket that will keep him out 6-to-8 weeks.
On top of that Colorado starters Tyler Chatwood, Jhoulys Chacin, Brett Anderson and Lyles have missed time this season. Righty Eddie Butler, who made his major league debut Friday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with right rotator cuff inflammation.
“You look at the guys that are out, it’s half the rotation,” Cuddyer said. “A former All-Star left fielder, All-Star right fielder, guy who was going to be an All-Star third baseman this year, there’s no question that’s tough. At the same time no one in the league is going to feel sorry for us.”
Floyd, who was limited to five starts last season while with the Chicago White Sox before undergoing Tommy John surgery, allowed one run and three hits in 6 2-3 innings in picking up his first victory since beating Cleveland on Oct. 3, 2012. Signed by Atlanta as a free agent last December, Floyd (1-2) snapped a career-long six-game losing streaking dating to April 2013.
Chris Johnson had three hits, including two RBI singles, to help the Braves beat the Rockies for the 15th time in 18 games since 2012. Evan Gattis had an RBI groundout and singled to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 10 games.
Craig Kimbrel got three outs for his 17th save in 20 chances.
The Braves got to Bergman for their first two runs in the fourth with B.J. Upton beating out a slow roller toward third base leading off the inning for Atlanta’s first hit.
Upton stole second, and after Freddie Freeman walked, went to third on a deep flyout by Justin Upton before scoring on Gattis’ grounder. Johnson followed with an RBI single to center.
“I think there was one ball hit hard. There were a couple of base hits that went up the third base line,” Bergman said. “It’s hard to find any fault in that.”
Corey Dickerson homered off Floyd leading off the seventh. Floyd retired the next two batters but walked D.J. LeMahieu and was relieved Luis Avilan. Pinch-hitter Brandon Barnes doubled but LeMahieu was stranded at third when Avilan induced an inning-ending groundout by Charlie Blackmon.
The Braves got a run back in the eighth on Johnson’s second run-scoring single.
NOTES: Cuddyer was placed on the 15-day DL on Monday. … The Rockies have not yet announced a replacement for Butler. … The Rockies also recalled RHP Chris Martin and designated reliever Wilton Lopez for assignment.