Rare miscue costs Chacin, Rockies in Atlanta

Rare miscue costs Chacin, Rockies in Atlanta

Rare miscue costs Chacin, Rockies in Atlanta
ATLANTA -- Jhoulys Chacin was angry with himself. He had wanted his last pitch, a fastball to Brian McCann in the second inning Thursday afternoon, to be up and away. Instead, it was well outside for ball one.

When catcher Wilin Rosario returned the ball to him, Chacin snapped at it out of frustration. He took his eye off the ball for just a moment and missed the catch. With no one backing up the play, Juan Francisco, who was on third base for the Braves, raced home. He easily scored the game's lone run in a 1-0 Braves victory in front of 19,313 at Turner Field.

Chacin said it was the kind of play he has made countless times in his career. Only this time he didn't make it, and it cost the Rockies.

"It's inexcusable, I just missed it," Chacin said. "It was really frustrating to lose the game because of that play."

Manager Jim Tracy could only think of one time he had seen a run score when the pitcher didn't catch the return throw from his catcher. And in his 11 years as a Major League manager, Tracy said it had never happened in a game he had been a part of.

"All I saw is the ball rolling out behind the mound, and here comes Juan Francisco running toward home plate," Tracy said. "Couldn't believe it, but that's how we got beat today."

With both teams unable to score any more runs, the Braves beat the Rockies, 1-0, for the second day in a row thanks to an unearned run. Less than 24 hours before, the Braves scored their lone run when shortstop Josh Rutledge's relay throw on an attempted double play went into the Braves' dugout, allowing a run to score.

Before Wednesday, the Rockies had only lost six games in their history in which they did not allow an earned run. Now, they have lost back-to-back games in such fashion, becoming the first team since the 1987 Royals and just the 15th since 1918 to do so.

"It's tough to lose two games in a row 1-0," Tracy said. "That's for [darned] sure."

Chacin's error obscured an otherwise gutty effort by the right-hander, who successfully stifled several threats from the Braves' offense. In 3 1/3 innings, Chacin allowed seven hits and walked three, but he -- along with the help of left-hander Matt Reynolds in the fourth inning -- stranded nine baserunners. Chacin worked out of a bases-loaded situation in the third, and Reynolds recorded the final two outs of the fourth after the Braves loaded the bases with one out.

Chacin said he was pleased he was able to make the adjustments necessary to escape the jams in which he found himself.

"I didn't have my best command today, but I could still make my pitches to get out of the inning, especially in the third when I had bases loaded and no outs," Chacin said. "I'm really happy for that part."

The Rockies, meanwhile, didn't have any success against Tim Hudson. The right-hander worked around six hits and two walks to throw seven shutout innings. Left fielder Charlie Blackmon, who went 4-for-4 and had three hits against Hudson, said he felt lucky to get his hits with the way Hudson was throwing.

"I feel like my day could have been very different," Blackmon said. "It's not like I hit three laser beams."

The Rockies' best chance to score against Hudson came in the third, when Dexter Fowler and Rutledge led off the frame with back-to-back singles. But Hudson retired the heart of Colorado's order with a pair of ground balls and an infield popup to get out of the jam.

Jordan Pacheco went 0-for-2 with two walks, snapping his 14-game hitting streak. It had been the longest active streak in the Major Leagues.

With the offense unable to make up for Chacin's critical mistake, the Rockies were left to ruminate over one of baseball's most basic plays: the catcher returning the ball to the pitcher.

"The game boils down to a throw back to the pitcher," Tracy said. "That's a first for me in 11 years. It's very difficult to take, but that's exactly what happened. That's how they got their run."

Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.