There’s a lot of talent in Mike Foltynewicz’s right arm. Not many pitchers can deliver a 98-mph fastball when they need it, like he did against Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old needed help to stop his recent slide, though. Some run support would have been nice. Solid defense always is useful.
Instead, Braves hitters couldn’t solve Rockies starter Chad Bettis and third baseman Adonis Garcia committed three errors. The Rockies won 5-1 to end a four-game losing streak while the Braves lost again after ending their own losing streak at seven games the previous night.
The Braves (54-72) couldn’t win consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 7-8. The Rockies (50-74) earned their fourth win in the last 17.
It was two struggling teams playing in front of a sparse crowd at Turner Field. The few Braves fans who remained late booed left-hander Matt Marksberry when he unleashed two wild pitches with Reyes at bat in the ninth inning.
It was that kind of game. The Braves left 10 runners on base. With three errors through five innings, Garcia threatened the Atlanta team record of four errors in a game that is shared by Mark DeRosa (2004) and Darrell Evans (1975).
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was there for DeRosa’s tough day in the field against the Rockies in 2004. He was the Braves’ third-base coach back then.
“It happens,” Gonzalez said. “The only people it doesn’t happen to is the people watching the game on television or watching the game in the stands or us here.”
After losing his rotation spot in June, Foltynewicz has been trying to be better in his second go around. He failed to make it out of the fourth inning in either of his previous two starts.
Foltynewicz was better against the Rockies but lasted just five innings as his pitch count piled up with the error-extended innings.
“Errors are going to happen,” Foltynewicz said. “I’ve learned over the past couple years I can’t control anything after I let the ball go out of my hand. I’ve got to keep focused on the next pitch instead of dwelling over what happens.”
Bettis, who was fresh off the disabled list, held the Braves to five hits and a run over five innings. The Braves could muster only three hits and a walk through four innings before finally breaking through in the fifth with a one-out RBI single by Nick Markakis.
The Braves couldn’t come back from a 4-0 deficit. None of the four runs allowed by Foltynewicz were earned. He played a part in his troubles but Garcia’s defensive blunders hurt.
In the first inning Foltynewicz gave up back-to-back, one-out singles to DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon before Garcia’s error on a potential double-play ball scored a run. Ben Paulsen followed with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 Rockies lead.
Nick Hundley reached base to lead off the fourth on Garcia’s second error of the game. Foltynewicz hit Matt McBride with a pitch and walked pitcher Bettis to load the bases. Foltynewicz struck out Reyes with the big fastball for the second out before LeMahieu scored two runs with his third hit of the game.
“He’s a young pitcher that’s not ready to cover up mistakes,” Gonzalez said. “We made some mistakes behind him, it lengthens the innings and he throws more pitches. If we go out there and we have a clean game defensively behind him, he may be pitching the seventh.”
Garcia committed his third error when he couldn’t handle Paulsen’s chopper in the fifth inning, though Foltynewicz limited the damage by retiring Hundley and McBride.