Rox turn it around on Braves
ATLANTA ” One night after the Braves won the NL East, the Rockies ” last in the NL West ” prevailed in a rookie showdown.
The Braves and Rockies each started seven rookies, and first-year shortstop Clint Barmes drove in the go-ahead run with a two-run double in the sixth inning as Colorado beat Atlanta 10-5 on Wednesday night.
The 14 rookies, including the starting pitcher for both teams, were the most to start a major league game since Sept. 24, 2003, when that many started for Cleveland and Minnesota.
“I knew they had a lot of young guys, but their young guys have been playing a lot longer than our young guys,” said Atlanta’s Kyle Davies (7-5), who gave up seven hits and five runs, two earned, in 5 2-3 innings.
Such Braves regulars as Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Rafael Furcal, Marcus Giles and Jeff Francoeur had the night off as they savored the team’s 14th consecutive division title.
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Jeff Francis (14-12) gave up seven hits and four runs, three earned, in five innings for Colorado.
Matt Holliday had three hits and drove in two runs for the Rockies.
Barmes greeted reliever Anthony Lerew with a bloop two-run double to right for a 5-4 lead. The double landed just fair in shallow right field.
“I found a hole,” Barmes said. “That doesn’t happen very often.”
Even though the Rockies were facing an Atlanta lineup that included only two regulars ” outfielder Ryan Langerhans and first baseman Julio Franco ” Barmes said, “It’s not easy getting wins in Atlanta.”
Davies was a fill-in starter for John Smoltz, who is resting his stiff right shoulder the last week of the regular season. Smoltz said he’ll be ready to start Game 1 of the Braves’ division series next week.
The 48-year-old Franco and 38-year-old Brian Jordan, who started in right field, stood out in the otherwise young Braves lineup. Jordan had two hits.
“I think it was good to give all the main guys a chance to rest,” said second baseman Pete Orr, who matched his career high with three hits and scored two runs as the Braves’ leadoff hitter. “A lot of them need it ” more than physical rest, it’s a mental rest.”
Colorado’s only veteran starters were first baseman Todd Helton and Holliday, a second-year player who was in left field.
One of the Braves’ rookies, catcher Brayan Pena, led off the second inning with a double and moved to third on Wilson Betemit’s single to center. Langerhans’ single to right drove in Pena, and Davies drove in Betemit with a fly ball for a 2-0 lead.
With two outs in the third, Helton struck out on a wild pitch but was safe at first as the pitch bounced past Pena. Holliday followed with a run-scoring double to left-center, and he scored on Garrett Atkins’ single up the middle for a 2-2 tie.
A throwing error by Rockies catcher Danny Ardoin helped the Braves take a 4-2 lead in the fifth. Three straight hits by Davies, Orr and Jordan loaded the bases. On Andy Marte’s grounder to third, Atkins’ throw to the plate forced Davies, but Ardoin slipped while throwing to first and threw wildly into right field for an error, allowing two runs to score.
The Rockies scored three runs in the sixth, knocking Davies out of the game. Pinch-hitter Todd Greene’s double drove in the first run before Barmes’ two-run double.
Making his major league debut, left-hander Chuck James walked Helton, threw a wild pitch and gave up a run-scoring single to Holliday, giving the Rockies a 6-4 lead in the seventh.
James gave up one run in two innings.
The Rockies had four runs and six hits in the ninth off reliever Dan Kolb.
Langerhans has a seven-game hitting streak and hits in 15 of 20 games in September. … Holliday’s third-inning RBI double gave him 29 in September, a team record for the month. His RBI single in the seventh pushed the total to 30. Dante Bichette drove in 28 runs in September 1995. Holliday leads the NL in RBIs this month, and has 59 since the All-Star break. … James became Atlanta’s 18th rookie to appear in a game this season.
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