The Colorado Rockies aren’t making it easy for the Atlanta Braves to sew up their fourth straight National League East pennant.
The Rockies knocked off the Braves in the opening game of their three-game series on Tuesday, preventing Atlanta from padding its lead over the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. Colorado did the same thing to the Phillies by taking three of four in the previous series.
Colorado has won five of its past six road games, improving to 13-17 away from home since the All-Star break.
“There’s a lot of experience that will help us moving forward,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “It’s not the finishing touches obviously, but it helps the process.”
The Rockies (67-78) will try to continue their success on Wednesday when they play the middle game of the three-game set. Colorado is 9-2 at Truist Park since 2017, having outscored the Braves by 21 runs while hitting 18 home runs in those contests.
Atlanta (76-67) holds a 4 1/2 game lead over Philadelphia and a 5 1/2 game advantage over the Mets in the division.
The pitching matchup features Atlanta right-hander Huascar Ynoa (4-5, 3.22 ERA) and Colorado righty Antonio Senzatela (4-9, 4.11), a rematch of the Sept. 3 game that the Rockies won 4-3.
In that contest, Senzatela came away with the win after throwing seven innings and allowing three runs. Ynoa, who was making his first career appearance against Colorado, took the loss after giving up four runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Ynoa, 23, looked good in his last outing on Thursday against the Washington Nationals. He worked five innings and allowed two runs on three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
“He’s going to have bumps in the road,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s not a veteran yet. He smoothed things out and he was really good. He continues to get better and better. I love this kid.”
Senzatela, 26, has produced quality starts in each of his last six starts, the longest stretch by a Rockies pitcher this season. He has a 2.54 in 39 innings over that period. He is only 1-6 with a 4.40 ERA on the road, but he is 1-2 with a 2.61 ERA in his past five appearances away from Coors Field.
In his latest start, Thursday at Philadelphia, he gave up two runs on four hits in six innings during a no-decision. He fanned three and walked two.
“I was feeling good,” Senzatela said. “Everything was working well — my fastball and my breaking pitches were all there, so I felt really good.”
Senzatela has made four career appearances and three starts against the Braves, going 2-0 with a 3.66 ERA.
Colorado’s Trevor Story continues to swing a hot bat. He hit a solo home run on Tuesday and is now hitting .372 (16-for-43) with seven doubles and four homers at Truist Park. He has homered in three of his past four games and is batting .273 (15-for-55) with six homers over his last 15 games after emerging from an 0-for-24 drought.
Atlanta’s Adam Duvall clubbed his 35th home run, second in the NL, and picked up two RBIs to give him a league-leading 101. Duvall had a personal-best 103 RBIs in 2016.
–Field Level Media