08/25/10 7:55 PM ET
Rox rally from nine down to sweep Braves
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
Insurmountable becomes expected. A matter of "if" simply becomes "when?"
At this point, just add Wednesday's improbable 12-10 sweep-clinching win against Atlanta to the list.
Unthinkable. Thrilling. Record book material. Check, check and check.
A team that had already set multiple franchise and big league records with some incredible home scoring displays this season added one for the record books when it stormed back from nine runs down.
"Who knows," outfielder Ryan Spilborghs said, "especially here at Coors Field, what type of magic we can get?"
It seems there's nothing the Rockies can't do at home. The club is 41-20 at Coors Field, having won 16 games in its final at-bat, having scored nine runs in the ninth inning while also plating 12 in a single frame in Denver.
Simply put, what conventional baseball wisdom tells you should be impossible becomes probable when Colorado plays at home.
"What an effort," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "What I've fallen in love with about these players is they just don't quit. They just don't quit."
Trailing, 10-8, with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez smoked a 0-1 fastball from Braves reliever Jonny Venters into center field, plating two to complete the furious comeback.
He was followed by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who drove a seeing-eye grounder into left field to plate Dexter Fowler from third. Before all was said and done, first baseman Todd Helton drove another two-out RBI single up the middle to cap the offensive outburst and give the Rockies 11 unanswered runs. There, they would stay.
Reliever Matt Belisle, who came on in the eighth, earned the victory. He joined fellow 'pen mates Joe Beimel and rookie Matt Reynolds to combine for six scoreless innings.
"We went from, 'How are we going to get through this?' in the bullpen to, 'Oh, now we've got to keep this thing close,'" Beimel said.
The rally erased dismal performances by Colorado starter Esmil Rogers and reliever Manuel Corpas, who were hammered for 10 runs and 12 hits over the first three innings.
"It was just one of those things -- you've got to kind of bear down and throw up zeroes every inning," Reynolds said. "When we started scoring runs, you knew you couldn't give up any more or you'd lose the momentum. I was going to go as long and as hard as I could, and it worked out."
The performance tied a franchise record for largest comeback to victory, matching a nine-run effort on July 4, 2008. In that game, Colorado trailed, 13-4, before coming back to win 18-17.
It was Colorado's first sweep since it took three in a row from the Cubs from July 31-Aug. 1 and just its second since the All-Star break. It's also the first time the National League East-leading Braves have been swept since June 22-24.
"I don't know what to say," Braves third baseman Martin Prado said. "It was unbelievable. It seemed like every single ball they hit, they found a hole or hit it hard somewhere. It's going to be one of the hardest losses we're going to have this year."
And don't look now, but the Rockies have re-emerged in the playoff conversation. A team that was all but out of it after a dismal road trip has been reinvigorated in Denver.
The 11 runs Colorado scored after finding itself down 10-1 early? Three more than the eight the Rockies scored on that six-game road trip.
"Going into it, we knew it was a game we had to win," Helton said. "Falling behind so quick, it didn't look like it was going to work out, but we kept hammering away."
Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.