The Braves’ cross-country jaunt for one game came back to bite them, as they fell 3-1 on Monday afternoon. The eight game winning streak is officially a thing of the past, and the division lead is now 5 ½ games. The magic number stays at 26.
The Braves leaned on some ninth inning magic from Francisco Cervelli and Adeiny Hechavarria to tie the game in the ninth, but a Ryan McMahon walk-off home run in the 10th gave the Rockies the victory.
Journeyman Tim Melville stymied the Braves hitters all afternoon, using an electric slider to flummox one of baseball’s best offenses. Even when he tired out in the fifth inning, he was still able to keep the scoreboard clean (though it took him 36 pitches to get out of trouble). Atlanta was able to put runners on in each of Melville’s five innings, but the offense was unable to decipher him as a unit.
After getting worked over by the Mets two starts ago, Julio Teheran worked his second consecutive scoreless outing, keeping the Rockies silent for six innings in one of the game’s most brutal parks. He struck out four and walked three.
Dansby Swanson’s return to the lineup might look underwhelming when looking at the box score, but he narrowly missed two home runs - a deep fly out to center in first at-bat, and one that just barely hooked foul in the fourth inning. He struck out three times on the day, but his power stroke doesn’t appear to have been compromised during his IL stint.
The Braves looked like they were close to pushing a run across in the top of the fourth inning, but there was not evidence to overturn a close call at the plate. Upon further review, it appeared Freddie Freeman was able to elude the tag on the throw, but the review center in New York sided with the original call.
The fifth inning also looked promising after Cervelli hit a leadoff double to right, then moved to third on a sacrifice fly from Rafael Ortega. Alas, Teheran struck out, then after Ronald Acuña and Ozzie Albies drew consecutive walks, Freddie Freeman grounded into the shift and the bases were left loaded. This sequence was emblematic of the entire afternoon for the Braves.
Old friend Wes Parsons, recently claimed off waivers by Rockies, came in to pitch the sixth, and unfortunately he didn’t resemble the version of himself that lost his spot in the Braves’ bullpen. He worked two scoreless innings.
Luke Jackson worked a clean seventh for the Braves, and looked fantastic doing so. Now that he is out of the closer’s role, he is really shining as a bullpen piece.
Alas, the good feelings from the bullpen were short-lived, as the Rockies relied on some ABC baseball to string together a rally in the eighth inning off Chris Martin. A bleeder just out of the reach of Albies turned into a hustle double for catcher Dom Nunez, who moved over to third on a ground out from Yonder Alonso, then scored on a lineout from Charlie Blackmon.
Cervelli’s ninth inning triple to right center set the stage for Hechavarria’s sac fly, but Anthony Swarzak and Jerry Blevins collectively imploded in the tenth. Swarzak walked Nolan Arenado to lead off the inning, and Blevins gave up the killshot to McMahon.
The Braves will travel to Toronto for a two-game set which starts tomorrow.