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Braves 3, Rockies 2: Toglia homers, but comeback falls short

In his 2nd game, the rookie took Kenley Jansen deep

Eight at-bats. That’s all it took for for Michael Toglia to hit his first Major League homer.

I was optimistically hoping the rookie slugger would hit a homer for his first MLB hit in my pre-game Tweet, but I was wrong. It was his second hit.

It came in the bottom of the ninth and represented the entirety of the Rockies offense. It wasn’t enough to best the Braves, who got the win thanks to homers by Austin Riley and Ronald Acuna Jr.

Welcome to the Show, Toglia!

With his family in the stands and after just being called up from Triple-A Alburquerque on Tuesday, Michael Toglia stepped up to the plate in the ninth inning. There were two outs and Randal Grichuk was at first after drawing a walk. Not daunted at all by three-time All-Star Kenley Jansen, Toglia connected on the first pitch he saw and sent it 391 feet to right center field. He got a 90.9-mph cutter from Jansen and it left with a 103.1-mph exit velocity.

The Rockies weren’t able to get anymore, but Tolgia erased the shutout. In the fourth inning against one of the top pitchers in the National League, Toglia recorded his first MLB hit. After hitting into a fielder’s choice groundout in his first at-bat against Kyle Wright, Toglia came out swinging and sent the first pitch he saw — a 96.1-mph sinker — right back up the middle with a 102.9-mph exit velocity. The hit came in Toglia’s sixth career at-bat and figures to be the first of many. His line through eight at-bats: 2 hits, 1 homer, 1 run, 2 RBI, .250/.250/.625.

The Wright stuff

The Rockies offense was pretty absent against Wright. He pitched seven shutout innings to earn his 17th win, which is the most in the Majors. The Rockies only managed five hits total, all singles. Two came in the second inning when Grichuk extended his hitting streak to 11 games and reached on an infield single and Sean Bouchard got his second MLB hit. Brian Serven then popped out to end the inning. Ryan McMahon got a single in the third and Charlie Blackmon reached on a fielder’s choice and error that gave the Rockies two runners with one out. C.J. Cron grounded out to move the runners to second and third, but José Iglesias flied out. Cron singled in the sixth and Sean Bouchard drew a walk in the seventh, but was sent to the dugout when the Rockies hit into their second double play of the game. Until Toglia’s homer in the ninth, the Rockies didn’t fair any better against the Atlanta bullpen. The Rockies struck out nine times total with McMahon owning three of them. They also went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

Strikeouts and homers for Feltner

The good news: Ryan Feltner struck out seven batters in 5 23 innings and only gave up five hits. The bad news: two of those hits were homers and accounted for all three of the runs the Rockies gave up. He also struggled, issuing three walks, one of which ended up scoring. Feltner started strong by striking out Acuna Jr. on three straight pitches. On the next four pitches, he walked Dansby Swanson, which set the table for Riley to hit his 32nd homer of the season — a 396-foot shot to right field — to put Atlanta up 2-0. Feltner pitched 1-2-3 innings in the second and third. He then walked Swanson again in the fourth, but didn’t have any damage. Acuna Jr. then annihilated a Feltner changeup, sending it 444 feet at 111.4 mph for his 11th homer of the year. In 13 starts, Feltner has given up 13 homers for an average of one home run per 5.59 innings.

How ‘bout that defense!

The Rockies were on their game defensively on Wednesday. The first highlight came in the first inning by Toglia in his debut as a right fielder. With the Rockies already down 2-0, Michael Harris II doubled down the right field line and William Contreras was heading home. Toglia gunned it in to Brendan Rodgers, who then fired a bullet right on target to Brian Serven, who tagged out Harris and prevent the inning from getting worse.

The next gem happened in the third inning when Randal Grichuk robbed Acuna Jr. of extra bases when he laid out and made a great diving catch.

In the same inning, after Feltner walked Dansby Swanson, Feltner rallied right back by striking out Riley on a pitch where Swanson took off to steal second. Serven popped up and fired a rocket to Rodgers, who had to make an acrobatic tag, but got Swanson. The Braves called the play, but the call on the field stood because Swanson came off the bag.

Bullpen holds strong

With a runner on base and two outs, Austin Gomber entered the game in the sixth inning and struck out Harris II to end the threat. With Lucas Gilbreath on the 15-day injured list with a left elbow flexor strain, Gomber is the only lefty in the bullpen. He usually pitches in long relief, but the one strikeout was all he was called upon to do on Wednesday. Alex Colomé took over in the seventh in his first action since Aug. 11 when he went on the IL with a shoulder injury. He did give up one walk, but struck out Acuna Jr. to end the inning. Jake Bird pitched a quick, 1-2-3 inning in the eighth with two groundouts and a strikeout to cap off a great day for the bullpen.

Up next

The Rockies will conclude the three-game series with the Braves on Thursday. Chad Kuhl (6-7, 5.17 ERA) will pitch for the Rockies, while Spencer Strider (8-4, 2.87 ERA) will get the start for Atlanta. First pitch is set for 5:20 p.m. MDT.