Hawpe caps Colorado comeback

Denver– Brad Hawpe prepared for his first All-Star game by sending the Colorado Rockies into the break on a positive note.

Hawpe hit a game-ending RBI double to give the Rockies an 8-7 victory over Atlanta on Sunday and a split of the four-game series.

“What a way for Brad Hawpe to leave here and head for St. Louis,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “That’s a very nice send-off for a class human being.”

Seth Smith set up Hawpe’s clutch hit with a one-out single off Luis Valdez (0-1), who was making his major league debut. After Garrett Atkins flied out, Hawpe lined an change-up into right-center to score Smith from first.

“He threw me a couple of fastballs early on, and in the back of my mind I wanted to be ready for an off-speed pitch,” said Hawpe, who leads the Rockies in hitting (.320) and RBI (59).

Hawpe, Smith and Troy Tulowitzki homered for Colorado, and Huston Street (3-1) worked a perfect ninth inning for the win.

Brooks Conrad hit a two-run homer and finished with three hits for the Braves, who led 7-3 after six innings.

“Nice to be able to have a game like I did, but bitter losing the game,” Conrad said. “These are the hardest ones to take.”

Colorado pushed across three runs in the seventh and tied it in the eighth. Dexter Fowler scored on left fielder Garret Anderson’s error before Smith’s two-run homer cut it to 7-6. Pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs doubled in the tying run.

“What really hurt us was walking Fowler with one out in the seventh with a four-run lead,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “That led to everything. We had played a great game until then, and it got away from us.”

Jason Hammel gave up five runs and nine hits over three innings for Colorado. It was his shortest outing since he went three innings against San Diego on April 27.

Chipper Jones hit a sacrifice fly, and Conrad had an RBI triple in Atlanta’s three-run first. Martin Prado gave the Braves a 4-0 lead with a run-scoring single in the second.

The Rockies chipped away at Atlanta’s lead. Hawpe hit his 14th homer in the second, Atkins singled in a run in the third and Tulowitzki’s leadoff homer in the fourth cut it to 5-3.

“To come back and win a ballgame like that, it was a fun game for us,” Hawpe said.