(Image Credit: Kevin Liles/Atlanta Braves)
Written by Brian Pohl
Atlanta, GA- Game one of a four-game series between two talented teams in the National League did not disappoint as we got a back-and-forth contest that saw the Colorado Rockies come back in the top of the ninth to steal a win from the Atlanta Braves in a 5-3 final score.
Despite the loss, the Braves received quite the start from pitcher Julio Teheran, who went seven strong innings, giving up just two earned runs on three hits while striking out seven Rockies hitters in 90 pitches. It’s been an inconsistent season for the veteran pitcher, to say the least, but if he is able to find consistency on the mound, it will be a solidifying factor for a Braves rotation looking to make their final push towards the post-season.
The Rockies were able to earn two runs off of Teheran thanks to an rbi sacrifice fly by Ian Desmond that scored star third baseman Nolan Arenado, and a solo home run in the third inning by Colorado’s hero of the game David Dahl.
The Braves would fight back, first tying the game up at one run a piece with a solo home run by catcher Kurt Suzuki, his first since June 20th. Atlanta would take the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning after three straight hits by the bottom three spots in the order, capped off by an rbi single by Julio Teheran. It seemed as though that would be enough for the Braves to win their sixth consecutive game, but it was not to be the case.
The key story of the game was the top of the ninth, where the Rockies scored three runs to take the final lead of the game. The Braves were without closer AJ Minter, who had pitched each of the last two games, and instead turned to reliever Brad Brach to finish things off. The inning looked to get off to a good start as Brach was able to induce a ground ball on the first batter. An error by shortstop Dansby Swanson allowed the runner to reach base, though, which put additional pressure on the defense in a one-run game.
A walk and a single would tie the game, and the Rockies were able to take the final lead thanks to a two-rbi single by outfielder David Dahl.
Atlanta Braves head coach Brian Snitker spoke about being without closer AJ Minter saying, “You know, we won five games in a row and it takes a toll.” He continued, “There are some guys down [in the bullpen] that, like I say, have been put back together and there are just going to have to be some nights where we survive without them.”
It’s a difficult loss to swallow for a Braves team who saw their five-game winning streak come to an end. The silver lining for Atlanta, however, is that they remain in first place in the NL East division by a game and a half over the second place Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves will have a great opportunity to right the ship Friday night, as breakout pitcher Sean Newcomb takes the mound against Lefty Kyle Freeland.
One final note for the Braves: The big story prior to the game was whether or not 20-year old phenom Ronald Acuña Jr. would play after getting struck on the arm and exiting the game on the first pitch of the game Wednesday. Acuña would indeed play as Snitker would insert the young star right back into the top of the order, where he made an impact immediately. The rookie would lead off the bottom of the first inning with a single and then steal second, showing just why he is a fast-rising star in Major League Baseball.
First pitch for game two of the Braves versus the Rockies is at 7:30 p.m. from SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GA on Friday, August 17th.