Tapia’s tiebreaking single in 10th sends Rockies over Braves
ATLANTA (AP) — Rockies reliever Tyler Kinley knew the wet conditions were going to make it tough to grip the ball. That didn’t stop him and the Colorado bullpen from shutting down the Atlanta Braves.
“There’s not going to be any stat line that’s going to say it was wet out there or the ball was slippery or it’s been raining for six hours,” Kinley said after pitching a scoreless eighth inning. “We said we need to figure this out and get through it.”
Raimel Tapia hit a tiebreaking single off A.J. Minter in the 10th inning, scoring Colton Welker from third base and lifting Colorado to a 3-2 victory over Atlanta on Wednesday night.
Atlanta’s NL East lead was trimmed to 3½ games over Philadelphia as the Braves attempt to win the division for the fourth straight year. Colorado was 28 games back in the NL West.
Robert Stephenson earned his first save in two chances in the bottom of the 10th, striking Austin Riley, hitting Adam Duvall with a pitch, striking out Travis d’Arnaud and getting Dansby Swanson to pop up.
“They did great in a game that you had to do great,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “In a low-scoring game, on the road, against a division leader, in their ballpark, in the rain, on a long night, I’m proud of our guys. I’m proud of our bullpen. I’m proud of our players.”
The game was played throughout in a steady drizzle, and the grounds crew spent much of the night between innings pouring dirt and raking the infield, mound and home plate area.
Welker, who began the 10th on second base for Colorado, advanced on a groundout and crossed the plate when Tapia, a late-inning replacement, drove the ball into left field.
Minter (2-6) took the loss. Carlos Estévez (3-4) faced five batters in the ninth to earn the win.
The Rockies scored twice in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead against Braves starter Huascar Ynoa. Sam Hilliard and Welker began with consecutive singles. Hilliard advanced on a flyout and scored on pitcher Antonio Senzatela’s sacrifice bunt.
Ynoa walked Garrett Hampson to load the bases, struck out Brendan Rodgers and walked Charlie Blackmon. That chased Ynoa. Reliever Jacob Webb struck out Trevor Story to strand three runners and end the threat.
The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the second off Senzatela when Riley singled, advanced on Swanson’s single and scored on Eddie Rosario’s single.
Rosario’s 11th homer sailed into the right-field seats and tied it at 2-all in the fifth. Rosario, from Puerto Rico, wore No. 21 to honor Roberto Clemente on Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Day.
“For me, it was real important to wear that number,” Rosario said through a translator. “As Puerto Ricans, he’s the example we try to follow on and off the field. More than anything, a battle I’ve taken up and all of us Puerto Ricans have taken up is to try to get his number retired across all of MLB. Hopefully we can gain some traction with that argument.”
Ynoa, who gave up two runs and four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings, is winless in his last six starts since returning Aug. 17 from the injured list but has a 3.58 ERA during that stretch.
Senzatela allowed two runs and seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in six innings. He has a 3.16 ERA over his last 10 starts.
Colorado’s C.J. Cron stepped on 1B Freddie Freeman’s glove hand while trying to beat out a grounder in the ninth. Freeman stayed in the game after being tended to by a trainer.
LOTS OF WHIFFS
Atlanta RHP Luke Jackson struck out the side in the eighth, and the Rockies whiffed 13 times total.
The Rockies are 23-51 on the road but have won six of their last seven and nine of 14 away from Coors Field. They are 14-17 since the All-Star break on the road. Colorado began the season 6-31 away from Denver.
Rockies RHP Germán Márquez (12-10) faces Braves RHP Ian Anderson (7-5, 3.61) in a matinee matchup Thursday.