Dahl caps 9th-inning rally with go-ahead knock

Outfielder starts in place of Blackmon, comes through in clutch

August 17th, 2018

ATLANTA -- Charlie Blackmon got some rest and did, well, the rest.

Dahl took Blackmon's leadoff and center-field spots, homered in the third inning and lashed a go-ahead, two-run single in the ninth as the Rockies moved into second place in the National League West with a 5-3 victory over the Braves on Thursday night at SunTrust Park.

Dahl's game-winning hit, on an offspeed pitch from (1-3) after rookie 's game-tying RBI single, pushed the Rockies a half-game ahead of the idle Dodgers.

Since returning from Triple-A Albuquerque after a rehab assignment for a broken foot and a brief option, Dahl has started eight of his 10 games at various outfield positions and is hitting .258 with two homers and six RBIs.

"It's not about whether I start or not, it's about helping the team win," Dahl said. "If I do start or pinch-hit, anything they want me to do, I'm ready for."

Rockies manager Bud Black has found ways to keep his veteran regulars current while finding spots for Dahl and McMahon, who won two games against the Dodgers during the last homestand with homers. Dahl isn't dominating and McMahon is struggling outside of the key at-bats, with three hits over the past week.

The homer, Dahl's sixth in 42 games, was a third-inning solo shot off Braves starter .

"I'm happy for them that they're doing these things because it boosts their confidence," Black said. "Because it's been a little rocky road for both those fellows."

The Rockies entered the ninth down, 3-2. Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson's leadoff error on 's grounder made all the runs unearned.

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walked before Brach struck out and Chris Iannetta. Then McMahon and Dahl succeeded at ending the NL East-leading Braves' season-best win streak at five games.

"That was a great at-bat by Ryan right there to tie it up, so I just went up there and tried to just have a good at-bat," Dahl said. "I wasn't feeling much pressure. I just wanted to put a good swing on it."

Closer gave up Freddie Freeman's leadoff single in the ninth and had a fleeting relationship with the strike zone early in the ninth, but he got to line out for his 33rd save.

The late comeback meant wasn't dinged for the few mistakes he made while striking out nine and holding the Braves to five hits and three runs in six innings. The damage came from the bottom of the order, as No. 7 hitter homered in the second, then doubled along with Swanson before Teheran singled in the two-run fifth.

"It was decent overall," Gray said. "I'm just upset about those mistakes I made in that one inning. I'm still not over it yet. I'm still mad about it. It's something I'm going to be working on this week."

(5-3) earned the win with a clean eighth after Gray left with a 3-2 disadvantage. The Rockies have won all six games since Gray returned from his demotion to Triple-A. He has a 2.55 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings during that span.

SOUND SMART

Although it was officially the Rockies' 31st come-from-behind victory this season, Thursday's was just the third in 49 games in which they trailed after eight innings.

ARENADO TESTED IN RETURN

played third base for the first time since exiting last Friday's game with a sore right shoulder. Before Thursday's contest, he said the shoulder hurts more on shorter and softer throws, so it was good that in the eighth inning he had to fire one.

Arenado charged Charlie Culberson's soft grounder off an Oh pitch and let go with his patented, leaning fastball to Desmond for the first out of the inning. More >

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Remember when second base was a little guy's position?

The Rockies' DJ LeMahieu ended the game by demonstrating why his listed 6-foot-4 height is more than just numbers in your program.

Freeman had stolen second and was there after and struck out. Inciarte's line drive seemed ticketed for right field, which would have cut the difference to one run. But LeMahieu did a full leap to snag the ball.

UP NEXT

Lefty (10-7, 3.02 ERA), coming off a career-high 10 strikeouts against the Dodgers in his last start, will take a 3.74 road ERA into his next outing -- against the Braves and lefty (10-5, 3.40). Freeland is 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA in three career starts against the Braves.