ATLANTA -- Mike Foltynewicz surrendered two hits through the first seven innings and the Rockies had lost each of the previous 43 games in which they trailed after seven innings. Down 3-0 entering the eighth, things didn't look promising until Colorado took advantage of multiple defensive miscues and a trio of wild pitches in claiming a 4-3 win over the Braves on Saturday night at Turner Field.
Trevor Story opened the ninth inning with a single off Jim Johnson and advanced to third base courtesy of two wild pitches that eluded A.J. Pierzynski, who was behind the plate for each of the five wild pitches charged to the Braves during Friday's series opener. Story slid across the plate after Pierzynski was unable to handle the throw in the dirt shortstop Erick Aybar made after fielding Mark Reynolds' decisive chopper with the infield playing on the edge of the grass.
"I saw something about that," Story said of the skid that the Rockies mercifully put to bed. "That's not very good. But we're a determined group. Tonight showed the grit and toughness of our team."
Reynolds, whose gamewinner was the 700th RBI of his career, said, "It was a good morale win for us -- one of the better wins of the year. We're not out of this thing yet."
The Rockies, who have won the first two against the Braves and are challenging themselves to climb into contention instead of taking a seller's attitude, tallied each of the three runs charged to Foltynewicz during the eighth, which included a couple borderline pitches, a run-producing wild pitch and Gordon Beckham's errant throw that allowed Nick Hundley to score from second base on DJ LeMahieu's game-tying infield single.
"This is a really good lineup," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "You can't give them more than 27 outs. We did, and it hurt us."
Foltynewicz surrendered just two hits (one of the infield variety) through the first seven innings and also provided a RBI single in the bottom of the seventh off Chad Bettis, who permitted three earned runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Pierzynski gave the Braves an early lead when he hit a two-run homer in the second.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Keeping it moving: Before Friday's 11-2 victory, Rockies manager Walt Weiss emphasized a simplified offensive approach. Get on base for the next man. It looked as if Weiss needed to deliver a reminder when the Rockies managed just three baserunners against Foltynewicz in the first seven innings. But the three-run eighth to tie the game came on four singles, a walk and a wild pitch.
"Foltynewicz was as good as anybody we've seen this year; he was commanding 97 [mph], threw 100 and had a real good slider," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We knew early on it was going to be tough to score runs off of him. But we hung in there, made him work, got his pitch count up later and strung some real key at-bats." More >
Folty's eighth: Foltynewicz had completed 14 consecutive scoreless innings before he allowed each of the first three batters he faced in the eighth to reach safely. The righty stared at home-plate umpire Scott Barry after his once-promising night ended with Hundley's RBI single. Reynolds came home on Hunter Cervenka's wild pitch and Hundley scored from second base when Beckham dove to stop LeMahieu's sharp grounder and then made an errant throw that skipped across the dirt and grazed Freddie Freeman's nose before coming to rest in front of the first-base dugout.
"I pitched my butt off tonight," Foltynewicz said. "It was just really unlucky the way it unfolded there in the eighth. I put my bullpen in a bad situation." More >
Left the Braves behind: Rockies lefty Boone Logan faced five batters in the eighth, four of them left-handed. Advantage, Logan. Nick Markakis managed a one-out single to right -- just the 10th hit by a lefty in 64 at-bats -- but Logan worked around trouble. He walked his one righty, Adonis Garcia, to put two on with one out, but he forced an Ender Inciarte flyout and a Pierzynski groundout. Weiss visited before the Garcia walk, but Logan said he was OK to stay on the mound.
"I knew I had to bear down, dig deep for the last two guys," said Logan, whose win was his first since July 9, 2014, 107 games ago. "I really didn't want to come out that inning."
Releasing frustration: Defensively, this hasn't been a pretty series for Pierzynski, who was also charged with a passed ball on Friday night. But the 39-year-old catcher had some fun at Bettis' expense. His two-run shot in the second inning was his first homer since Sept. 29, 2015. His bunt single to beat the shift in the seventh helped put Inciarte in position to score on Foltynewicz's two-out single.
"Folty pitched great," Pierzynski said. "He deserved a better fate. You go into the eighth and we had a three-run lead. He made a lot of great pitches, and they hit some balls that found some holes. We'll give them credit. But he's pitched really great his past couple starts."
"In the seventh, with those two walks and giving up a hit to the pitcher, I was pretty frustrated, but for us as a team to rally and get this win was big for us." -- Bettis, who has held opponents to five runs in 13 1/3 innings over his last two starts and appears to be approaching the consistency he showed in the season's first month-plus
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Braves have been charged with eight passed balls during the first two games of this series. They had never previously been charged with more than seven passed balls in a series of any length in Atlanta history (since 1966).
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: Righty Jon Gray (5-4, 4.67 ERA), who leads the Rockies with 10 quality starts, will face the Braves in the final game of the series at 11:35 a.m. MT on Sunday. Gray's 95 strikeouts rank second among National League rookies.
Braves: Pitching for the first time since he tossed a scoreless inning in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, Julio Teheran will get the start in Sunday afternoon's series finale. Teheran owned a 2.46 ERA before he allowed five earned runs in both of his final two starts before the All-Star break.