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Rockies 5, Braves 4: B-Rod comes up clutch, Estévez holds on

This East Coast road trip continues to be a new feeling: fun

The Rockies have looked like a new team lately. They are hitting homers and the bullpen is hanging on. The result has been four road wins in five days, equating to 18 percent of their total road wins this season. The latest came against the AL East first-place Braves on Tuesday night. The credit goes to Brendon Rodgers and Trevor Story for hitting homers, and Garrett Hampson, who ended up scoring the winning run.

Road Rodgers rocks

Brendon Rodgers hit his 12th homer of the season on Tuesday night, a two-run shot in the fifth inning that broke a 2-all tie and punched Touki Toussaint’s exit ticket. After Raimel Tapia led off with a single, Rodgers hit a 399-foot line drive to right for his 10th homer on the road. What Coors Field advantage?

Storytime is a good time

Trevor Story continued his homer-hot stretch, hitting his 22nd of the year and his fourth homer in his last seven games. This one was a 430-foot shot to center field that left the bat at 107 mph. Story’s solo shot led off the second inning and tied the game before the Rockies briefly held the lead.

Gray good enough

Jon Gray registered seven strikeouts in five innings while giving up two runs on five hits and two walks. His stuff looked good right away when he struck out Ozzie Albies on a combo of curve balls and sliders. Then Jorge Soler doubled and Freddie Freeman followed with an RBI single to give Atlanta an early lead. Over the next two innings, Gray posted four ground outs, one walk, one fly out, and one strikeout. At the plate, Gray had a scary moment when he was trying to bunt in the second and Toussaint’s 97-mph sinking fastball hit the tip of his right index finger. Luckily, Gray was able to shake it off and stay in the game.

“It hurt like heck, but it didn’t swell up. Nothing bad,” Gray said in the post-game press conference. “It just kinda got stiff as the night went on. Really lucky there, but I need to do a better job of bunting.”

Back-to-back doubles in the fourth brought home the only other run against Gray and the first one by Travis d’Arnaud landed due to a misread or loss of sight of the ball by Garrett Hampson. Dansby Swanson followed with an RBI double to tie the game momentarily. Gray escaped a possible jam in the fifth after starting the inning off by walking Ozzie Albies. But then Gray got Soler to strikeout and Elias Díaz then threw out Albies, who tried to steal second.

Return of the three-bagger for Hampson

Garrett Hampson hit three triples in May and added one more in June. On Tuesday night, he ended a three-month drought with his fifth triple of the season. Then Rio Ruiz made it count. Pitch hitting for Jon Gray in the sixth, Ruiz hit a fly ball to left and Hampson was able to easily tag to put the Rockies up 5-2.

In the eighth, after Jhoulys Chacín gave up a two-run homer, Hampson’s run was the difference between a lead and a tie. Hampson also made a diving catch to rob Travis d’Arnaud of at least a base hit to end the inning.

Bullpen mostly up, just one downer

Daniel Bard and Tyler Kinley each threw scoreless innings to handle the sixth and seventh. Then Chacín gave up the homer to Duvall to cut the Rockies lead to one going into the ninth. As if it wasn’t nerve-racking enough in the eighth, Carlos Estévez continued the drama. He started off strong by getting Swanson to ground out, but then he walked Eddie Rosario. Estévez then got the second out of the inning by striking out former Dodger Joc Pederson. Before Rockies fans could take a deep breath, Albies got a single to put the go-ahead run on the first. Estévez rallied back again to get Soler to fly out to Hampson to get his eighth save of the year.

Up next

The Rockies and Braves will play the second game of the series in Atlanta on Wednesday night at 5:20 p.m. MT. Antonio Senzatela (4-9, 4.11 ERA) will start for the Rockies, while Huascar Ynoa (4-5, 3.22 ERA) will go for the Braves.