Acuna HR streak ends, Rockies rally past Braves 5-3
ATLANTA (AP) — The Colorado Rockies took care of a couple of streaks.
First, they found a way to keep Braves rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. from hitting one over the fence.
Then, Colorado rallied for three unearned runs in the ninth inning and a 5-3 victory that snapped Atlanta’s five-game winning streak Thursday night.
David Dahl homered in the third and finished off the winning outburst against a depleted Atlanta bullpen, going the opposite way for a two-out, two-run single to left against Brad Brach.
“I was just trying to stay calm,” said Dahl, who has spent time at Triple-A, missed a big chunk of the season with a broken foot and struggled to earn playing time with the Rockies. “I had a feeling he was going to throw some off-speed stuff with (first) base open. I was just trying to take the ball the other way.”
With several relievers on the disabled list, including closer Arodys Vizcaino, the Braves have patched together a bullpen that usually turns to A.J. Minter to finish games. But the left-hander was unavailable after pitching three times in four days. So the Braves turned to Brach, who was acquired in a trade-deadline deal after recording 11 saves for Baltimore.
He couldn’t convert his first save chance with Atlanta, hurt by shortstop Dansby Swanson’s error leading off the ninth. Brach (1-3) recorded only two outs, surrendering two hits and a walk as the Rockies won for the fifth time in six games.
“We have to stick to our guns,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We have to get through the game even when we’re without some of those guys.”
One night after being plunked in the left arm by Miami’s Jose Urena, Acuna was back in the lineup looking to extend his homer streak to six games. Wearing a red protective guard, the 20-year-old slugger received a standing ovation his first time up and lined the second pitch — one more than he saw the previous game before leaving — into center field for a single that extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Acuna finished 1 for 4, lining out to right in the eighth in his final opportunity to become the first player in Braves franchise history to homer in six straight games.
Urena received a six-game suspension from Major League Baseball.
The Braves squandered a strong outing by Julio Teheran, who turned in his longest start since May 30. He pitched three-hit ball over seven innings and helped his cause with a run-scoring single in the fifth, snapping a 2-2 tie.
The Braves couldn’t hold the lead.
“It’s part of the game,” Teheran said. “Those things happen.”
The ninth-inning trouble began when Swanson bobbled Trevor Story’s grounder and rushed a high throw to first that pulled Freddie Freeman off the bag.
“It was my play to make,” Swanson said. “I just didn’t make it. Pretty simple.”
Pinch-hitter Ryan McMahon tied the game with an RBI single to right, but Brach still had a chance to work out of the jam after fanning Chris Iannetta.
Dahl foiled that plan.
“I just want to help the team win,” he said. “Whether that is when I do start, or as a pinch hitter, whatever they need me to do I’m ready for it.”
Seunghwan Oh (5-3) earned the win and Wade Davis worked a scoreless ninth for his 33rd save.
Kurt Suzuki homered for Atlanta in the second , tying the game at 1. Dahl put Colorado back ahead with a solo shot deep into the right-field seats.
Colorado starter Jon Gray didn’t figure in the decision after giving up five hits and three runs over seven innings.
But the Rockies have won each of his last eight starts, the longest such run since Colorado triumphed in nine straight games started by Ubaldo Jimenez in 2010.
Braves LHP Max Fried (blister) is set to make a rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday. If all goes well, he could get a start for Atlanta next week.
LHP Sam Freeman (shoulder inflammation) is also rehabbing at Gwinnett and could return to the Braves bullpen shortly.
Longer term, RHPs Peter Moylan (forearm strain) and Brandon McCarthy (knee tendinitis) have been throwing on the side for the Triple-A team and are in line to make rehab appearances next week.
Rockies: LH Kyle Freeland (10-7, 3.02) goes into Friday’s start in Atlanta with lowest ERA in the National League by a qualifying left-hander.
Braves: LH Sean Newcomb (10-5, 3.40) beat Freeland when they faced each other on April 8 in Denver. The Braves starter threw six innings in a 4-0 win over the Rockies.
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