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The Colorado Rockies were due for an offensive explosion and they got one in their second game against the Braves in Atlanta.
Getting three-hit nights from four different players and five RBI out of Ian Desmond, the club cruised to its most comfortable victory since the All-Star Break, pummeling the NL East leaders by a score of 11-5.
Starter Kyle Freeland was fantastic once again, though he didn’t need to be, allowing just three hits and a run that score only after an error allowed the runner to reach base.
In addition to Desmond breaking out of a mini-slump, the top of the lineup in Charlie Blackmon an DJ LeMahieu burst out, going 6-for-12 with five runs scored and four RBI.
The Braves took an early lead by taking advantage of a Trevor Story throwing error in the first. Employing his patented spin throw but rushing it a bit with the speedy Ronald Acuna Jr. running, his throw was high, allowing the first base runner of the game.
It looked for a moment like Freeland may have picked him off at first, enough so that the Rockies challenged the initial safe ruling but the call on the field stood without overwhelming evidence to overturn. Atlanta proceeded to move Acuna around the bases with a single from Ozzie Albies, a groundout from Freddie Freeman that couldn’t quite be turned into a double play, and a sac to just-barely-deep-enough-left from Nick Markakis.
The Rockies rallied in the third, getting a one-out ground-rule double from DJ LeMahieu that was followed by a single from Nolan Arenado. LeMahieu had to see the ball through and could not score the tying run but when Story walked, Colorado had the bases loaded with one out.
Carlos Gonzalez could not come up with either the big hit or the productive out, popping up to third base on a full count after getting a tough call on the first pitch of the at-bat. In strode Ian Desmond who took an ugly hack at a first-pitch changeup. He made an adjustment on the next, managing to stay back on almost the exact same pitch in the same spot, hammering it into the left-center field gap for a bases-clearing triple.
Colorado added with an offensive outburst of four runs in the sixth. While the last scoring rally ended with a big Desmond hit, this one began with one. He singled up the middle to lead off the inning and swiped second, his 14th stolen base of the season. After David Dahl struck out, Desmond came in to score on a Chris Iannetta single to right.
Freeland followed by finding his way on base after his sac bunt attempt turned into a bunt-for-base-hit situation.
Charlie Blackmon, in desperate need of a big hit, came up with one, cashing in both runners with a triple down the first baseline. He raced home on a wild pitch to score the fourth run of the frame before DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado struck out to end the inning.
The Braves got one back in the first inning pitched by someone not named Freeland. Adam Duvall jumped on the first pitch he saw from Bryan Shaw, pulling it into the hole on the left side and came around to score on a Dansby Swanson double that hit right on the foul line in left field.
Shaw settled in and retired the next three batters in order without allowing Swanson to score.
The Rockies actually answered that with three more of their own thanks to singles from Blackmon, LeMahieu, Story and Desmond.
That put a cap on Desmond’s night and gave him 65 RBI on the season which ranks third on the club. His triple was his seventh of the year, which ranks fifth most in the NL.
Jake McGee worked the eighth, walking a pair but not allowing a run or a hit.
The Rockies added one more in the ninth with a two-out double from Blackmon who scored with ease on another LeMahieu single.
Chris Rusin pitched the ninth an surrendered three runs on four singles and a walk but was finally able to strike out Tyler Flowers to end it.
Colorado improved to 66-56 and sit one game out of first place in the NL West as of publication.
Kyle Freeland: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 9 K
Bryan Shaw: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Jake McGee: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Chris Rusin: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
The Rockies look to make it three straight in Atlanta on Saturday as Antonio Senzatela makes his return to the rotation. He faces off against Mike Foltynewicz. First pitch at 5:10 Mountain Time.