DENVER – The Braves had a 1-0 lead through five innings Friday night against the Rockies, but soon after Julio Teheran left, trouble arrived.
Teheran in the fifth inning with tightness in the latissimus dorsi muscles in the right side of his back, and the Rockies used a pair of two-run homers in the sixth to forge a 4-3 win at Coors Field, their 12th in their past 14 games against the Braves including eight in a row at Coors Field.
Jace Peterson’s two-run homer in the eighth inning off reliever Jason Motte cut the lead to 4-3, and the Braves loaded the bases with one out in the ninth before Chase d’Arnaud popped out in the infield and Peterson struck out to end the game.
They had runners at second and third with one out after an Adonis Garcia double, Ender Inciarte walk and sacrifice bunt by Anthony Recker, all against reliever Carlos Estevez, who stayed in the game.
“We had it right there,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. “I like our chances that inning. Guys had some good at-bats. Recker, that guy’s not easy to bunt (against). We had the deck stacked in our favor, just couldn’t get it done.”
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After Erick Aybar walked to load the bases, d’Arnaud popped out to the back edge of the infield and Estevez got the final out when Peterson tried to check his swing on a third strike. The Braves last won at Coors Field on June 10, 2014.
“We did a good job with getting some guys on base there,” said Recker, who had two hits including a double before his bunt. “I was able to get a pitch to lay down (a bunt); happy to do that. We put together some good (at-bats) after that, unfortunately we weren’t able to get the ball to fall. But put together some good at-bats and gave them a fight.”
It was the Braves’ 11th loss in 16 games and their fourth loss through the first five games of a nine-game trip.
After Braves reliever Joel De La Cruz walked DJ LeMahieu to start the sixth inning, Noland Arenado’s long two-run homer gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead. De La Cruz was replaced by left-hander Dario Alvarez, who promptly gave up a single to Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story’s two-run homer that pushed the lead to 4-3.
Arenado and Story lead the Rockies with 24 home runs apiece, and Gonzalez hit his 20th homer in Thursday’s series opener, a three-run shot that broke a scoreless tie and sent the Rockies to 7-3 win.
Teheran’s pickoff at second base saved a run in the first inning when Arenado followed with a two-out triple. Teheran induced an inning-ending ground out from Gonzalez to preserve a 1-0 lead.
The Braves scored in the first inning when Freddie Freeman hit a triple that was dropped by left fielder Ryan Raburn after a difficult catch attempt on the warning track. Nick Markakis followed with an infield single to score Freeman.
Reynolds led off the fifth inning with a dribbler of a single that went past the right side of the mound, which Teheran attempted to field. As it turned out, Teheran didn’t hurt himself on that play or a strikeout in the top of the inning when it appeared he might have tweaked his back. Instead, he said he first felt discomfort making a third-inning pitch.
Teheran didn’t tell any team official or the training staff at the time, but shortstop Erick Aybar was among those who were aware of the situation. After the leadoff singlein the fifth, Aybar came to the mound to check on Teheran, and persuaded him to let the manager and training staff know what was going on.
They signaled to the the dugout, head trainer Jeff Porter and Snitker came to the mound and, after a brief chat, Teheran threw one warm-up pitch to test it before walking to the dugout beside Porter.
After the Rockies moved in front on the two homers in the sixth, the Braves got a one-out single from Recker in the seventh. But Aybar was up next and grounded into a double play, which made him 5-for-42 (.119) with five double plays grounded into and six errors committed in his past 13 games.