Chad Bettis was sharp early and only made one mistake to Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski on an 0-2 pitch that he meant to bury but hung instead. Pierzynski made him pay by smashing the pitch over the right field fence and giving Atlanta and early 2-0 lead.
Bettis was spectacular through the next four innings but ran into trouble by walking Ender Inciarte and then allowing another base hit to Pierzynski. He almost worked out of if by getting Eric Aybar to ground into a double play but then allowed a hit to the opposing pitcher, and the Braves led 3-0. After Bettis walked Jace Peterson in the next at-bat, his night was done.
His final line: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K.
It looked like, despite his decent start, Bettis would surely get the loss but the Braves came unraveled in the top of the eighth, letting the Rockies back into the game. After the road squad got a run from a pair of base hits by Ryan Raburn and Nick Hundley sandwiched around a Mark Reynolds walk, the Braves were forced to remove Foltynewicz from the game. Hunter Cervenka replaces him and got Cristhian Adames to line out to left but Reynolds was able to move up, which was important because he scored on a wild pitch in the ensuing at-bat.
Then DJ LeMahieu hit a ball to the right side and Gordon Beckham made a spectacular play to get to the ball but made a throw in the dirt that first baseman Freddie Freeman was unable to handle, the ball bounced away allowing Hundley to score the tying run. Even though the Rockies hit well in the inning, the Braves mistakes were paramount and immediately stung of wasting a brilliant performance by their young emerging ace.
In the top of the ninth, Trevor Story manufactured a run with a little more help from some poor defense by Atlanta. He led things off with a single and managed to move up to second … and to third … on balls in the dirt that were not handled by Pierzynski. Then Story broke for home when Reynolds hit a sinking liner to shortstop Eric Aybar. A good throw would likely have nailed Story, but Pierzynski’s butterfingers struck again and the second Braves error in as many innings gave the Rockies the lead.
Reynolds advanced to second on the play and nearly scored on a Charlie Blackmon single but was nailed at the plate on a perfect throw from Inciarte.
It wouldn’t matter in the long run though as Carlos Estevez came in and slammed the door shut in the ninth, sitting in the high 90s with his fastball and breaking off sliders that disappeared into the Hotlanta night. It was Estevez’ fifth save of the season. Rockies win 4-3.
This was the first time all year the Rockies won a game when trailing in the seventh.
The Colorado Rockies can … finally … say that they came from behind to win a game in 2016. This has to be a confidence boost regardless of the talent level of the competition. Foltynewicz had filthy stuff and it was understandable that almost any offense would struggle against what he was throwing tonight, but to turn things around so quickly, and even be in a position to force some much-needed errors, has to make the Rockies feel like they got that monkey off their back.
With all the tough-luck, heartbreaking, crazy-ass losses the Rockies have had this year, it sorta feels like they were due a game like this.
Tomorrow, the Rockies will give the ball to their own young emerging ace, Jon Gray, in an attempt to sweep the Braves in the first series back after the All-Star break. Speaking of the break, All-Star Julio Teheran will take the hill for the Braves in what looks to be a pretty solid set-up for a pitcher’s duel.
UPDATE: After the game, the error on Aybar in the ninth was changed to a fielder’s choice and so Mark Reynolds will be credited with an RBI. Despite the fact that this means the Braves technically only committed one error in the game, there was still enough bad defense (especially on those balls in the dirt) to merit keeping our original headline.