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Braves bullpen comes up short yet again in 9-5 loss to Rockies

Atlanta was a strike away from winning tonight’s game. The score will not reflect that.

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight’s big storyline was the return of the Braves ace Mike Foltynewicz, and his presence was immediately felt.

Folty was able to get the Rockies in order to begin his night with two fly balls and his first strikeout of 2019.

On the flip side offensively the Braves got to work right away thanks to a two out home run by Freddie Freeman. Jon Gray has had problems with the home run ball over the last two years and coming into tonight’s game he had already allowed four this season coming into action tonight.

Folty ran into some trouble in the top of the second though as Nolan Arenado answered Freddie Freeman’s blast with one of his own. Folty then came back nicely to strike out the next two batters moving the game into the bottom half of the second.

Then when the Braves came back out it was the home run ball paying huge dividends as Ender Inciarte sent a ball into the Chop House to give Atlanta the lead again at 2-1.

The third inning had nothing going for either team as Folty breezed through three batters and the Braves went down quietly around a one out single and walk.

In the fourth inning Folty ran into some trouble yet again as he allowed a game tying home run to the suddenly resurgent Daniel Murphy that knotted the action back up at 2.

After Folty got through another scoreless inning in the fifth the Braves bats went back to work as Ozzie Albies led off the bottom of the inning with a double to right center and was advanced to third on a Johan Camargo infield single.

Camargo then stole second during Freddie Freeman’s at-bat which sadly ended in a strikeout, but as usual Ronald Acuna Jr. was there to pick up the slack as he singled to left field scoring both Albies and Camargo to give the Braves a 4-2 lead.

Nick Markakis then capped off Jon Gray’s night with a ringing double to right field which allowed Acuna to score taking the Braves lead to 5-2.

Foltynewicz pitched another scoreless inning in the sixth, but ran into some trouble in the top of the seventh that ended his night after David Dahl tripled and was brought home via a Ryan McMahon single that cut the lead to 5-3.

Luke Jackson then relieved Folty, but allowed McMahon to eventually score on a Tony Wolters groundout that got the Rockies back within a run at 5-4.

Thankfully Jackson was able to put out the fire there and got the Braves back up to the plate. Unfortunately the Braves were not able to put together any offensive action against a stout Rockies bullpen in the seventh and eighth innings which ended up being huge in the final inning.

Coming into the final inning the Rockies found themselves down just one and got a great start to the inning against A.J. Minter as Dahl led off with a double. Minter fought back valiantly though with a strikeout of McMahon and Tapia, but allowed Dahl to advance to third on a wild pitch leaving the game tying run 90 feet away with just one out remaining.

Colorado turned to Ian Desmond as their final hope and were able to coax a walk out of Minter to put runners on first and third with two outs for another pinch hitter in Drew Butera who was able to draw another walk loading the bases. Minter was visually frustrated, as he should be, but had to focus in on the always dangerous Charlie Blackmon looking for a single out to win the game.

Blackmon did what he does best and made Minter pay for his mistakes as he laced a two run single through the right side putting the Rockies back in front 6-4. Then the Braves pulled Minter from the game still looking for just one out to move on.

Dan Winkler was the next man up and was ambushed to put the cap on a night were the Braves had a very winnable game as Tyler Story sent a three run home run deep into the night putting Colorado up 9-5 and putting the game away.

The Braves went quietly into the night against Wade Davis and Atlanta managed to find a way to lose their eighth consecutive home game. Again, the story was the bullpen that was really good up until the final out was needed.

Tonight the Braves came a strike away, but will be looking to avoid a sweep tomorrow against the Rockies. Stay tuned.

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