Braves 6, Rockies 5

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ATLANTA (AP)—Despite being staked to an early lead, Colorado Rockies starter Shawn Estes knew he couldn’t get comfortable against the Atlanta Braves

“I’ve seen this team come back a lot of times over the years,” Estes said. “If you give them any momentum, they will come back.”

Rafael Furcal went 4-for-4, including a two-run triple in Atlanta’s four-run sixth inning, and Eli Marrero drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the seventh to lead the Braves to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory Tuesday night.

“I say all the time, no matter how many the other team gets, they have to play nine innings and get 27 outs,” Furcal said.

Marrero and Julio Franco each went 3-for-4 for the Braves, who rallied past the Rockies after falling behind by four runs. Atlanta remained 7 1/2 games ahead of Florida in the NL East.

“I knew we could always come back,” Franco said. “We did the little things today and everybody contributed to win the game.”

The teams combined for 25 hits, including 14 by the Braves, but the Rockies scored only one run after the first inning as Russ Ortiz rebounded from a rough start.

“Russ held it together,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He only gave up one more run after that first inning. Anybody else might have crashed.”

With Colorado leading 5-1 in the sixth, Estes gave up a double to Franco to open the inning and Marrero hit an infield single to put runners on first and third. Charles Thomas hit into a fielder’s choice to score Franco. Pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa followed with a single, knocking Estes out of the game.

Furcal greeted Tim Harikkala (5-3) with a two-run triple that made it 5-4, and Marcus Giles tied it with a run-scoring double.

The Braves collected three straight one-out hits to knock Harikkala out in the seventh. Marrero’s third hit of the game, a single to center, drove in pinch-runner Mike Hampton from second base to give the Braves a 6-5 lead.

“The guys did a great job of hanging in there and picking me up,” Ortiz said.

Kevin Gryboski (2-2) got one out in the seventh for the win, Chris Reitsma pitched a scoreless eighth and John Smoltz got three outs for his 33rd save in 36 chances.

Braves right fielder J.D. Drew cut his head when he hit it on a dugout railing when he jumped down the dugout steps after finishing batting practice, Cox said.

Cox said Drew was not able to play. The Braves announced during the game that Drew was in uniform and available as a pinch-hitter.

“I don’t even know if he can drive home,” Cox said.

Drew was taken to Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital, where he received two staples to close the wound. His status for Wednesday night’s game was not immediately known.

Jorge Piedra and Jeromy Burnitz hit first-inning home runs as the Rockies gave Estes an early 4-0 lead.

Piedra led off the game with his first major league homer off Ortiz. Piedra, 2-for-4, will be part of a rotation in center field after Preston Wilson was placed on the disabled list with a sore left knee.

After Piedra’s homer, Ortiz issued one-out walks to Todd Helton and Castilla, setting the stage for Burnitz’s three-run homer—his 32nd.

Franco’s RBI single with two outs in the first made it 4-1.

Colorado added a run in the fifth on Helton’s RBI double.

Estes and Ortiz entered tied for third place in the league in wins, but the two also rank among the league leaders in walks. Ortiz walked six batters, giving him 90 for the season and moving him past Colorado’s Jason Jennings for second in the league. Only Arizona’s Brandon Webb (96) has walked more batters in the NL.

In five innings, Ortiz gave up five hits and five runs, four earned.

Estes gave up four runs and seven hits, and walked three in 5 2-3 innings.

Rockies reliever Scott Dohmann left after he was struck near his right collarbone by a sharp line drive from Chipper Jones in the eighth. Jones, who reached on an infield single to load the bases, was the only batter Dohmann faced.

Notes:

Ortiz needed 54 pitches to get through the first two innings and reached 100 before recording an out in the fifth. … Franco’s three-hit game came one day after his 46th birthday.

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