LeMahieu’s HR in 10th leads Rockies over Braves 5-3
ATLANTA — After four at-bats, DJ LeMahieu was still looking for his first hit and felt he hadn’t made good contact.
He was just saving his best swing for extra innings.
The Colorado Rockies struck for three runs with two outs in the ninth inning before LeMahieu homered over the center field wall in the 10th Saturday night in a 5-3 win over the Atlanta Braves.
LeMahieu’s drive off Luke Jackson cleared the 400-foot mark — the deepest part of the park.
“I hadn’t really hit the ball hard all night,” he said. “I was just trying to get on base.”
Carlos Gonzalez followed with a double and scored on Nolan Arenado’s single to complete a frustrating blown save for fill-in closer A.J. Minter.
Minter came in with a 3-0 lead to begin the ninth and retired the first two Colorado batters. But the Rockies followed with four straight hits, including a two-run double by Ian Desmond and a tying single by pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra.
Minter has been Atlanta’s closer since Arodys Vizcaino went on the disabled list last month with shoulder trouble.
Braves trainer George Poulis visited Minter on the mound early in the ninth to examine a cut on Minter’s left thumb. Minter said a fingernail caused the cut on his second pitch.
“It had nothing to do with the outcome of the game,” Minter said, adding the blown save was “just pretty pathetic on my part. My job was to come in and get three outs, especially in a three-run game, and I didn’t get the job done.”
Braves manager Brian Snitker described Minter, a rookie, as “still a work in progress” while mastering the command of pitches.
“It hasn’t been great for a few outings, really,” Snitker said. “He has continued to make pitches and not give in and get through it.”
LeMahieu hit his 10th homer with one out in the 10th off Jackson (1-1).
The Braves stranded a runner at third base in the ninth when Adam Ottavino (5-2) struck out Dansby Swanson to end the inning. Wade Davis pitched the 10th for his 34th save.
The Rockies have won the first three games of the four-game series to stay close to NL West-leading Arizona.
The NL East-leading Braves remained one-half game ahead of second-place Philadelphia.
Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz gave up four hits in seven innings and struck out nine.
Nick Markakis drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single off Antonio Senzatela with two outs in the third inning. Ronald Acuna Jr. had three hits and a walk, scored twice and stole a base. Acuna singled, stole second and scored on Freddie Freeman’s single off Bryan Shaw in the eighth.
Rockies: INF Pat Valaika was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque to clear a roster spot for Senzatela, who had been on the 10-day disabled list since Aug. 5 with right shoulder inflammation.
Acuna extended his Atlanta franchise-record streak to reaching safely in nine consecutive plate appearances leading off a game when he singled in the first inning. He has four homers, three singles, one walk and a hit by pitch when leading off games over that span.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (10-9, 4.51) is coming off a win over Justin Verlander and the Astros in Houston on Tuesday. He is 5-1 with a 2.91 ERA since June 30 and is 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his last five road starts.
Braves: RHP Anibal Sanchez (6-3, 3.07) will try to extend his perfect career record against the Rockies. Sanchez is 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA in six career starts against Colorado.
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