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Braves top Rockies on Arenado's costly error in 8th

MLB.com

DENVER -- The Rockies and Braves played a close game Tuesday night at Coors Field, and a rare sight was the difference -- a Nolan Arenado error.

Arenado, who won a Gold Glove in each of his first four seasons, fielded a routine grounder at third base with two outs in the top of the eighth, but first baseman Mark Reynolds couldn't pick the ball out of the dirt on the throw. The ball caromed away from Reynolds, as Brandon Phillips scored the winning run from second to lift the Braves to a 4-3 win over the Rockies.

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DENVER -- The Rockies and Braves played a close game Tuesday night at Coors Field, and a rare sight was the difference -- a Nolan Arenado error.

Arenado, who won a Gold Glove in each of his first four seasons, fielded a routine grounder at third base with two outs in the top of the eighth, but first baseman Mark Reynolds couldn't pick the ball out of the dirt on the throw. The ball caromed away from Reynolds, as Brandon Phillips scored the winning run from second to lift the Braves to a 4-3 win over the Rockies.

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"I don't expect to make errors, but they happen, unfortunately. I'm human," Arenado said. "It's unacceptable, I've got to make that play at the end of the day. I feel like I do, for the most part, but I just didn't this time, and we lost."

Arenado said he didn't rush the throw -- he simply "short-armed" it. Reynolds added the ball caught him on an in-between hop, and that Arenado threw a "changeup."

"You see me pick balls from [Rockies shortstop Trevor Story] and he throws 100 miles an hour, I can judge where that's going to go," Reynolds said. "But [Arenado's] done that maybe once this year, you know? He's the best over there, though, people mess up."

Rockies' offense struggling during playoff push

The Rockies remain tied atop the National League Wild Card standings, as the D-backs fell to the Astros, 9-4, on Tuesday. With the Cardinals losing and the Brewers winning, the Rockies and D-backs are five games ahead of both teams.

Video: ATL@COL: Freeland fans Phillips to retire the side

Rockies rookie Kyle Freeland returned from the disabled list, giving up three runs on four hits over six innings, after missing just one start with a left groin injury. Freeland said he had no hesitations with his groin, and that he was so eager to come back that "there were a few times where I had to be told, or tell myself, that I had to calm down."

Braves starter Sean Newcomb also allowed three runs -- all on solo homers -- over six innings, striking out eight.

Video: ATL@COL: Newcomb fans eight over six solid innings

"That's sort of expected coming here, deep fly balls kind of turn into home runs," Newcomb said. "I just put those behind me. I know they have a lot of good people in the lineup. So, I knew I had to just get right after the next guy."

Dansby Swanson's two-out, two-run double in the second provided an early lead for Newcomb, who pitched around three walks. Swanson notched his first multi-hit game since July 26, the same day he was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Video: ATL@COL: Swanson plates two with double to left field

"He's been swinging the bat good since he's come back," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's been making good contact, and I've seen some of them finding holes."

Staying positive, Swanson collects pair of hits

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
RISPy business: Story led off the fifth with his 16th home run of the season, giving the Rockies a 3-2 lead after early back-and-forth runs. The Rockies had a chance to blow the game open later that inning. But with the bases loaded and two outs, Newcomb got Gerardo Parra to fly out to left. Stranding runners is becoming a troubling trend for the Rockies, who went 5-for-39 with runners in scoring position during their recent road trip through Cleveland and Miami.

"The kid really competes in his own way," Snitker said of Newcomb. "He's not real demonstrative or anything. He keeps getting after it, and kind of just has that good look where he doesn't get flustered."

Video: ATL@COL: Newcomb retires Parra with bases loaded

Leaving his Markakis: After Parra left the bases loaded, Nick Markakis tied the game at 3 with a solo homer in the sixth. Markakis' seventh home run of the season kept the game tied until Arenado's error in the eighth. Freeland had allowed just two baserunners between the second inning and Markakis' home run.

Video: ATL@COL: Markakis belts solo home run to right-center

QUOTABLE
"Whenever you can score after they score, that's what you want. You focus on that when you're on defense, too. When you score, you don't want them to score. When you score more runs than they do, you win games." -- Swanson, on Braves' offense responding

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
This was just the second time (in 17 games) that the Rockies have homered three times and lost. The other time was April 25 in a frigid, 15-12 loss to the Nationals.

Video: ATL@COL: Reynolds belts leadoff HR to left in the 4th

The Braves snapped an 11-game losing streak at Coors Field that dated back to June 11, 2014. Freddie Freeman is the only player who was in the lineup for both of Atlanta's two most recent wins in Denver.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The end of the game was delayed momentarily, as the Rockies challenged the final out. Story grounded out to third base, but nearly legged out an infield hit. Phillips' throw beat him by a half-step, and the out call was confirmed on the review.

Video: ATL@COL: Phillips' throw nabs Story to end ballgame

WHAT'S NEXT
Braves: Mike Foltynewicz will take the mound when this four-game series resumes Wednesday at 8:40 p.m. ET. Foltynewicz has struggled in two of his past three starts, including allowing six runs in just 2 2/3 innings against the Cardinals on Friday.

Rockies: Righty Jon Gray (4-2, 4.92 ERA) had a couple rough starts out of the All-Star break, but entering his outing against the Braves on Wednesday night at 6:40 p.m. MT, he has a 3.28 ERA over his last four starts. During that stretch, he has 22 strikeouts and four walks.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.