Rockies stun Braves with 3 in 9th, win in 10

Desmond comes through with 2-run double; LeMahieu hits go-ahead HR

August 18th, 2018

ATLANTA -- The Rockies' offense didn't show up at SunTrust Park until two were out in the ninth inning Saturday night -- right on time, it turned out.

After scoring three times in the ninth to tie, DJ LeMahieu homered with one out in the 10th, and the Rockies won for the seventh time in eight games, 5-3, over the Braves.

"When those guys come through in the ninth like that, we're kind of on board after that," said a smiling LeMahieu, whose hit helped the second-place Rockies pull to a half-game behind the National League West-leading D-backs. Colorado also is a half-game out of the second NL Wild Card and a game out of that top spot.

The Rockies will enter Sunday in position to sweep the four-game series against the Braves, who still lead the NL East by a half-game over the Phillies.

During this surge, the offense can best be described as sometime-y, but winnable.

In the previous seven games, which were highlighted by pitching that sustained the club until the offense came up with key hits, the Rockies batted .248 and exceeded four runs just three times. With runners in scoring position, the figure was .233 -- but take away an 8-for-19 performance in Friday night's 11-5 victory and that average was .146 in six contests.

Before the comeback, the Rockies managed little in the way of scoring chances and no runs in seven innings against Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz, who fanned nine.

"This is a really good club we're playing," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "They're strong. They just keep coming at you. They never quit. They're dangerous. They have some veteran guys over there that know what they're doing, which makes Folty's outing that much more impressive."

Braves lefty forced and into grounders to start the ninth. But doubled and singled. Then , who drove in five runs in Friday night's victory, delivered a two-run double on a full-count fastball from Minter at the knees.

"I thought the 'Desi' at-bat was really good -- full count, there were a couple foul balls," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "That Minter has good stuff, now. He's got velocity, he's got a hard slider/cutter, and 'Desi' got a strike and put a great swing on it and ripped it into the corner."

Pinch-hitter poked an outside fastball, left-on-left, off Minter to drive in Desmond to tie the score.

"I wanted that at-bat, because I felt good," Parra said.

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Then LeMahieu swatted 's 0-1 flat slider over the wall in dead-center for the lead, through heavy air on a rainy and humid Southern night. Even LeMahieu was surprised it disappeared over the wall, instead of into center fielder 's mitt.

"I hit it as hard as I could, but I still thought [Inciarte] was going to catch it," LeMahieu said.

Gonzalez doubled and scored on Arenado's single for a two-run cushion for , who earned his 34th save.

Rockies righty returned from right shoulder inflammation for his first start since Aug. 2, went five innings and had one hiccup. With runners at second and third in the third, Freddie Freeman walked with the count full, and knocked a two-run single. Senzatela left after five innings and 82 pitches, with five hits, two walks and one strikeout.

The Braves scored what looked to be a key run in the eighth. They led, 2-0, when singled off to open the inning and stole second to put him in position to score on Freeman's one-out single. That meant the Rockies' rally merely tied the contest.

But no matter. The Rockies bats were there to stay.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Losing his grip but grasping the win: Rockies righty reliever (5-2) walked ninth-inning leadoff man and knew he had a problem.

"I was a little rusty, and I couldn't really grip the ball at all tonight, honestly," said Ottavino, who had not pitched in four days.

Inciarte's sacrifice bunt was a gift out, then flied to deep left to move Camargo to third. With two strikes to Dansby Swanson, Ottavino wanted to throw a chase pitch -- but not one that catcher Chris Iannetta would have had to chase to the backstop.

"My thinking was I wasn't going to throw a strike, either way, so I wanted something Chris could catch -- miss away, not down," said Ottavino, who watched Swanson swing wildly at a pitch in the opposite batter's box.

SOUND SMART

• The Rockies entered this series 2-46 when trailing after eight innings. One of those two was last Saturday, when knocked a three-run homer for a 3-2 victory over the Dodgers. Now the Rockies have two such wins this series. They rallied for three in the ninth inning of Thursday night's 5-3 victory.

• Saturday was the third time in the Rockies' 26-season history that they've won a road game after trailing by three or more runs going into the ninth, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They were down 3-0 at San Francisco and won, 7-3, on Oct. 4, 2015, and trailed, 6-2, at Cincinnati on Aug. 12, 2001, before coming back to win, 7-6.

HE SAID IT

"When you get into mid-August and you're into it, it's developing. That's the great part of our sport -- it's an everyday thing. That separates us from other sports. Fans, players, people in America who are baseball fans can watch it every day unfold. For me, there's nothing better than to watch August and September baseball." -- Black, on the developing postseason chase

UP NEXT

Righty (10-9, 4.51 ERA) figures to have much better weather when he faces the Braves and righty (6-3, 3.07) in Sunday's series finale at SunTrust Park at 11:35 a.m. MT. It was 27 degrees at Coors Field on April 6 when he lost to the Braves in the home opener, which saw him give up seven runs on seven hits and six walks in 4 2/3 innings. Marquez has heated up -- to the tune of 5-1 with a 2.91 ERA over his past eight starts.