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Tempers flare, pitchers ejected as Rockies beat Braves 10-3

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DENVER - Corey Dickerson is still wondering why he was at the centre of a near scrum.

Dickerson hit Atlanta catcher Gerald Laird with his backswing and tempers quickly flared, setting off a tense sequence and leading to several ejections Thursday as the Colorado Rockies beat the Braves 10-3.

The Rockies led 8-3 in the eighth when Dickerson fouled away a pitch and knocked off Laird's facemask.

"It was on a two-strike slider on a backswing that I hit Laird, but it was an accident and I think they know that," Dickerson said.

A stunned Laird was on the ground for several minutes before walking off the field under his own power and being replaced by Evan Gattis.

"He's OK," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "They did all the concussion tests and the doctor cleared him to fly back with us. I'm sure he's going to be a little sore. Dickerson's backswing got him more on the jaw than on the head. I think we dodged a bullet there."

With his next pitch, Atlanta reliever David Carpenter hit Dickerson in the thigh and was ejected.

"I guess Carpenter thought it was on purpose," Dickerson said.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss bolted from the dugout and began yelling at Carpenter, as well as in the general direction of Gonzalez.

Weiss was held back by home plate umpire Jordan Baker before being ejected. When he returned to the dugout, Weiss smashed a bat against the wall.

"If you think a guy can foul a ball off and then at the same time hit the catcher on the backswing on purpose, you got no clue," Weiss said. "They made their decision. They made a bad choice."

Carpenter denied throwing at Dickerson.

"I tried to run a fastball in on him, it cut a little bit and caught him," he said. "Dickerson was looking at me and I thought, 'You just got hit, go to first base, that's all there is to it'. Get on with the next batter. I was surprised getting tossed out of the game there, I was preparing for the next hitter."

In the ninth, Rockies reliever Nick Masset hit Gattis in the hip with a pitch. Both Masset and Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells were immediately tossed.

Jhoulys Chacin (1-4) pitched seven scoreless innings for his first win of the season, backed by home runs from Charlie Blackmon and Justin Morneau.

Chacin, who missed the first month of the season with a right shoulder strain, struck out five and walked two. Rookie Tommy La Stella was the only Braves player to get a hit off him, singling in the second and doubling in the fifth.

In his toughest inning, with the Rockies ahead 3-0, Chacin issued consecutive one-out walks in the seventh to Chris Johnson and La Stella but got out of the jam by getting Andrelton Simmons to ground into a double play.

"I didn't feel that good today," Chacin said. "I was just trying to make my pitches. I was keeping my pitches down and trying to get ahead and that's pretty much what I did. Any time you're throwing strikes, you're usually going to get good results."

Ervin Santana (5-3) struck out eight in 6 1-3 innings and scattered seven hits but two of them went for home runs.

Chacin, who did not receive any run support in three of his outings and totalled just 10 overall in his seven previous starts, helped himself early. He singled in the third ahead of Blackmon's home run.

It was the 12th home run of the season from Blackmon, all from the leadoff spot, which leads the majors and is the most by a Rockies player in the No. 1 spot in team history.

Morneau connected on Santana's first offering in the sixth for his 11th of the season, a two-out drive that sailed over the centre field wall into the Braves' bullpen.

The Rockies pulled away with a five-run seventh, getting an RBI single from Charlie Culberson and a sacrifice fly from pinch-hitter Ryan Wheeler. Josh Rutledge scored from third on a wild pitch by and Morneau delivered a bases-loaded single to drive in the final two runs of the inning.

The Braves scored all their runs in the eighth on Jason Heyward's RBI single and B.J. Upton's homer.

After Carpenter was ejected, Anthony Varvaro took over and the Rockies added a pair of runs on RBI singles by pinch-hitter Brandon Barnes and Blackmon.

NOTES: Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki was given a day off. ... Chacin fanned Gerald Laird in the fifth inning for his fourth strikeout of the game and the 500th of his career. He's the seventh Rockies pitcher to reach the milestone. ... The Braves open a series against the Los Angeles Angels with RHP Aaron Harang (4-5) opposing C.J. Wilson (7-5) in the opener Friday. ... The Rockies travel to San Francisco, where Jorge De La Rosa (6-5) will face Tim Lincecum.

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