In what has become a lost season, the Colorado Rockies exacted a bit of revenge on a team that has tormented them throughout their existence, taking a series from the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field for the first time since 2005. Wednesday's 6-3 victory also marked the first time the Rockies won back-to-back games in Atlanta since 2002.
The win also moved the Rockies' record against the Braves to 6-1 on the season, though that still leaves Braves-Rockies as the most lopsided matchup in baseball history (minimum 150 games), in Atlanta's favor, of course.
In fact, the series win in Atlanta was just the fifth-ever for the Rockies in a three-game series in the Peach State. In addition to the series wins this season and in 2005, the Rockies took series at Turner Field in 1997 and 2000 and won a series at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
That 1997 series win in Atlanta was the only one of the five that was a sweep, and an impressive one at that. Colorado took the opener with three runs in the ninth against Braves closer Mark Wohlers after being thoroughly shut down for eight innings (four singles, no walks, no runs) by Greg Maddux. Rockies starter John Thomson allowed just a solo home run to Ryan Klesko in seven innings of work in the 3-1 win.
The second game of the series was more the Rockies' speed as Roger Bailey took on Denny Neagle in a game that would wind up as a 10-6 affair. Dante Bichette and Vinny Castilla gave the Rockies the lead for good in the seventh against Braves reliever Mike Cather with a pair of bases-loaded singles that combined to score three runs and hand the win to current Rockies bullpen coach Darren Holmes, who had pitched a scoreless sixth inning.
Colorado secured the sweep with a dominant performance from Pedro Astacio in the series finale. In his fifth start with the Rockies after arriving in an August trade for Eric Young, Astacio pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out 12 to out-duel Hall of Famer John Smoltz. It took until an Andres Galarraga RBI single in the eighth for the Rockies to get on the board against Smoltz, and the original Mr. Late Night, John Vander Wal, hit a three-run home run in the ninth to provide some insurance in the 4-0 win.
The Rockies did not face any future Hall of Famers this time around, but they did take down first-time All-Star Shelby Miller on Wednesday with a four-run seventh inning that included doubles from Ben Paulsen and Brandon Barnes, an RBI single from Daniel Descalso and a two-run triple by Jose Reyes that gave the Rockies the lead for good. A two-run home run from Barnes in the eighth provided insurance for setup man Scott Oberg and closer John Axford, who earned his 18th save of the season.
At 23 games under .500, this is the part of the year to enjoy the small victories, one of those being a series win over the Braves.