Rox's 10th slam not quite enough vs. Braves

September 3rd, 2021

DENVER -- and the Rockies keep filling the club record book when they play at Coors Field.

Blackmon’s third-inning homer on Thursday night extended the team’s mark for grand slams to 10. Blackmon also surpassed Troy Tulowitzki (2006-15) for seventh on the club list of home runs at 189.

The Rockies couldn’t extend the one club mark that they needed, however. A ninth-inning potential rally went nowhere, they lost to the Braves, 6-5, and the team’s record for walk-off wins still sits at 12.

Usually, the Rockies come through at Coors, where they are 43-23 on the season. That’s especially true in games like Thursday’s, when the Braves took a one-run lead in the fifth inning and held it. Ryan McMahon led off the ninth with a single, but Braves closer Will Smith earned his 30th save -- with Garrett Hampson’s double-play grounder ending the game.

But Blackmon noted that the Rockies always feel they have a chance for something special.

“One run anywhere, especially at Coors Field, is nothing,” said Blackmon, who has 11 homers this year and improved his career slam total to four by going deep against Touki Toussaint for a 5-3 lead. “A one-run lead can disappear so fast, and you feel like you’re definitely going to come back if you’re only down one.”

Blackmon’s homer was a key reason Toussaint, who forced double plays at the end of the first (from Blackmon) and second (from McMahon), left the game after facing nine batters in the third. Toussaint had a throwing error that helped load the bases.

Toussaint’s departure ended up working against the Rockies’ opportunities. Five Braves relievers held the Rockies to two baserunners. The Rockies also had a bullpen day.

Unable to convince home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza to grant low strikes, Rockies starter Chi Chi González gave up a Jorge Soler opposite-way homer to right in the first inning, yielded a two-run double to Austin Riley in the third and lasted just 3 2/3 innings on 79 pitches. Adam Duvall swung the game for the Braves with a two-run homer during a three-run fifth against Yency Almonte. But Lucas Gilbreath and Tyler Kinley followed with two scoreless frames apiece.

The Rockies’ 10 slams are not only two more than in any previous season -- they had eight in 2007 and ‘17 -- but they are a reward for scrappiness the team is trying to develop. Putting runners on base consistently helps in frequently high-scoring Coors games. It also can help on the road, where the Rockies’ 18-50 mark is the reason they are landlocked in fourth place.

But Thursday was the right strategy, wrong result.

“Traffic, that’s the hard part,” Blackmon said. “It's just getting guys out there on base to have the opportunities. The opportunities aren’t always going to go your way. Sometimes they don't. But if you don't, you know, scratch out a walk or hit some balls hard or get any baserunners, you'll never have the opportunity.”