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Rockies 4, Braves 3: Pitching and Defense

An excellent night from the Rockies’ pitching staff locks down a win against the Braves at home.

The Colorado Rockies squared off against the NL- East-leading Atlanta Braves tonight, looking to rebound after a disappointing loss last night. Pitching and defense were the key contributors in tonight’s ballgame, with Antonio Senzatela leading the charge to back up the bats in a 4-3 victory.

Once again, Senz-sational

Antonio Senzatela continues his streak of excellent outings on the mound. Today he notched his fifth consecutive quality start in a row, and the third game in his last five where he pitched seven full innings. Senzatela was quick and efficient, making good work of his fastball and changeup. He threw only 83 pitches over seven complete innings with 15 outs on three or fewer pitches, and seven on two or fewer. He struck out three batters with no walks, and gave up just his first home run since July 1st: a solo shot to Ozzie Albies.

Playing in defense mode

The Rockies played some very good defense to support Antonio Senzatela this evening. Raimel Tapia laid out for a deep hit to center in the second inning and came up short to let Adam Duvall reach with a triple, but he made up for it in the sixth inning. With a runner on second, Austin Riley singled to Tapia (who had moved to left field with Connor Joe exiting the ballgame due to injury) to plate a run for the Braves. However, Tapia made sure the inning ended there and made an excellent throw to second base to cut Riley down and end the inning. In the eighth inning, Eddie Rosario hit a leadoff double off Jhoulys Chacín. Rosario tried to steal third, where catcher Dom Nuñez made an excellent throw to third baseman Ryan McMahon. McMahon made an incredible spinning tag between his legs for the out, and it was upheld on review. You could even see the Braves’ third base coach mouth “no way” when watching the replay, in awe of the soon-to-be Gold Glover’s work. In the top of the ninth, CJ Cron lept high to snag an errant throw from Trevor Story, and made a spinning tag while landing to save an error.

Modest but effective

The Rockies’ offense wasn’t at it’s best this evening, but did enough to get the job done. Charlie Blackmon kicked things off with a solo home run in the first inning, marking his 500th career extra base hit. Later in the game he would drive in a run on a sacrifice fly for a second RBI. CJ Cron continued to drive runs in like he did in August with an RBI single in the sixth inning. Brendan Rodgers had an RBI single to drive in Dom Nuñez, who himself had hit a lovely double. Unfortunately, none of the Rockies’ lineup this evening had a multi-hit game, and only Cron was on base more than once due to getting hit by a pitch.

Rock solid bullpen

The majority of the bullpen got the night off thanks to Antonio Senzatela’s excellent start. The Rockies only used two bullpen arms tonight, turning to two of their most reliable relievers. Jhoulys Chacín pitched a scoreless eighth inning while giving up one hit in the leadoff double, but received assistance from Dom Nuñez and Ryan McMahon to clear the bases. Carlos Estévez, the Wild Thing, continued his streak of excellent relief work. He has 14 consecutive outings without giving up a run, working a very quick and hit-less ninth inning for his fourth save of the season.

This one hurts

Connor Joe, who has been playing fantastic baseball since his July call-up and had earned himself an every day playing role with the Rockies, unfortunately left tonight’s game injured. In the third inning as he was running from first to third, Joe came up hobbled and walked off the field with the trainers. Diagnosed as a right hamstring strain, Joe will have to miss time as he recovers. Skipper Bud Black stated after the game that it wasn’t a season-ender, but the IL was definitely a possibility.

Coming up next

The Rockies and Braves will play the third game of four tomorrow night, with Germán Márquez taking the mound for the Rockies as he looks to rebound from a tough August. Pitching for the Braves will be the right-handed rookie Ian Anderson. First pitch will be at 6:10 PM MDT.