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Series win important as Rox head back home

Key homer by 'Sheriff' helps team finish road trip on positive note
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

ATLANTA -- The Rockies are headed back home after their six-game road trip, and after providing a two-run homer to key a 3-0 victory over the Braves at SunTrust Park, Mark Reynolds talks of a team that's looking forward without baggage.

After struggling offensively and losing the first two of a three-game series at Kansas City and seeing struggling closer Greg Holland let Friday's game against the Braves slip away, the Rockies won the final two contests to finish the trip 3-3.

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ATLANTA -- The Rockies are headed back home after their six-game road trip, and after providing a two-run homer to key a 3-0 victory over the Braves at SunTrust Park, Mark Reynolds talks of a team that's looking forward without baggage.

After struggling offensively and losing the first two of a three-game series at Kansas City and seeing struggling closer Greg Holland let Friday's game against the Braves slip away, the Rockies won the final two contests to finish the trip 3-3.

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The offense isn't quite right, as evidenced by a 1-for-11 performance with runners in scoring position and nine men left on base Sunday. But the Rockies are about to play nine straight at Coors Field. Scheduled are three-game sets with the Tigers at the start and the Giants at the end. In between, Friday through Sunday, will be three against the D-backs, who hold the first National League Wild Card, while the Rockies possess the second.

Tweet from @Rockies: Sheriff has an 80-grade #batdrop. pic.twitter.com/PaK2bjhOFx

"It's exciting," said Reynolds, whose 28th homer came in the sixth off Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz. "I love playing at Coors. We're in a good spot. We're in a playoff spot right now. Some teams are going to have to beat other [playoff hopefuls] to overtake us. I'm going to do my [darnedest] not to let that happen."

It was a nice finish to Players Weekend for Reynolds, who homered twice in the series. He wore "Sheriff" on his jersey for his old media-generated nickname, "the Sheriff of Swattingham."

And the Rockies' other RBI came from a teammate with a Reynolds-generated nickname. Shortstop Trevor Story, known as "Joe" because Reynolds stuck him with that when he couldn't recall Story's name in spring 2016, doubled in a run in the second inning.

Video: COL@ATL: Story opens scoring with RBI double

The Rockies will go back to normal surnamed jerseys, but they hope to maintain the fun spirit. It's a blast when the starter pitches well, as Jon Gray (aka "Gray Wolf") did Sunday and the other starters did for most of the games on the trip. Outside of Holland, the bullpen held opponents to six hits and one run in 15 1/3 innings in the six games.

"We were in position throughout the week to win some games, and I thought we pitched pretty well on this trip, especially the bullpen," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "It was good to come back and win these last two against a team that's sort of transitioning, but they've got some good offensive players.

"I think we've started to swing the bats a little better. Even though we scored only three runs, we were in position a number of times to add on."

Reynolds is part of a group of veterans with postseason experience. Interestingly, a rotation that has no playoff experience and a nucleus that wasn't around during the Rockies' last playoff run (2009) -- Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado -- have been among the better performers.

Reynolds sees a team ready for the next step.

"We've kind of got this little dog-days-of-summer funk out of the way, and we're getting to September, get some crisp air, hit some homers and let them boys go out there and pitch," he said.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Mark Reynolds