Denver - Maybe early in the season, Colorado manager Jim Tracy pulls his starters and puts in a pitcher for mop-up duty. Not now, not with the Rockies trying to stay in the playoff race.
Down 10-1 in the third inning, the Rockies did everything they could to come back. And they did, matching the biggest rally in team history and stunning Atlanta, 12-10, on Wednesday on Troy Tulowitzki’s go-ahead RBI single in the eighth.
“What an effort,” Tracy said. “The thing I’ve fallen in love with these players is they don’t quit. We were short-handed pitching and then offensively, here we go, and we started chipping away. This is the icing on the cake.”
The Rockies gradually cut into the deficit against the NL East leaders before taking the lead with four runs in the eighth. Carlos Gonzalez hit a tying, two-run single with two outs, and Tulowitzki and Todd Helton followed with RBI singles.
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The Rockies finished off a three-game sweep and won their fourth straight overall. The streak came after a skid that saw Colorado lose seven out of 10 and drop behind in the wild-card race.
“This was a heck of a game,” Helton said. “It would have been easy to fold it up, but we didn’t. We went out there and had an unbelievable win.”
Colorado also rallied from nine runs down to beat Florida, 18-17, on July 4, 2008.
The major league record for the biggest comeback is 12 runs – it’s happened three times, most recently by Cleveland against Seattle in 2001. The NL record of 11 runs has been done three times, with Houston doing it to St. Louis in 1994.
With one out in the eighth and the Rockies trailing 10-8, reliever Jonny Venters (4-2) walked Chris Iannetta and Melvin Mora singled. One out later, Dexter Fowler walked and Gonzalez singled. Kyle Farnsworth relieved, and Tulowitzki and Helton delivered their hits.
“I got a couple pitches up, but I think the walks are what really did me in overall,” Venters said. “This one hurts.”
After tagging Colorado starter Esmil Rogers for seven runs on eight hits in 12/3 innings, the Braves were shut out over the final six innings.
“You can score a lot of runs, but you’ve got to keep playing hard, especially in this stadium,” Atlanta shortstop Alex Gonzalez said.