Rockies 9, Braves 8

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DENVER (AP)—Braves manager Bobby Cox will have to find something else to do now when the postseason starts.

Atlanta’s streak of 14 straight postseason appearances ended with a 9-8 loss Sunday to the Colorado Rockies, who got a grand slam from Matt Holliday.

Atlanta had won 14 straight division titles heading into this season but the Mets won the NL East. The loss to the Rockies combined with the Phillies’ 10-7 win over Florida eliminated Atlanta from the wild-card race with six games left.

“I can’t believe it,” Cox said. “We tried to get it done. We couldn’t do it.”

Brian McCann hit a grand slam and a solo drive to match a career high with five RBIs for the Braves. McCann has 59 RBIs since the All-Star break.

“This year has been tough,” Atlanta outfielder Andruw Jones said. “We haven’t played the way we want to play and that’s why we are where we’re at this year.”

The Braves led 7-0 in the fourth inning. Jeff Baker led off the fourth with a homer for Colorado and Holliday’s second career grand slam cut it to 7-6 in the fifth. Pinch-hitter Brad Hawpe’s two-run homer off Tyler Yates (2-5) in the eighth put the Rockies in front 9-8.

“That was as big a hit as big a hit as Hawpe has gotten all year,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said.

Jeremy Affeldt (4-1) retired one batter in the eighth to earn the win and Brian Fuentes pitched the ninth for his 29th save in 34 chances.

“One thing we’ve learned about Coors Field is to never give up,” Holliday said. “We’ve been hitting the ball well of late and we figured good things would happen if we kept pecking away.”

The Rockies also held Vinny Castilla Day at Coors Field to honor the 39-year-old third baseman, who will retire at the end of the season. Castilla, who is the career leader among Mexican-born players in home runs (320), RBIs (1,104), doubles (339) and hits (1,882), went 0-for-4.

Juan Morillo got off to a rough start in his major league debut for Colorado. He walked the first three batters of the game before hitting Jones with a pitch to force in a run. McCann then homered on a 3-2 pitch to straightaway center field to make it 5-0.

McCann, who has 23 home runs, hit his other grand slam July 17 at St. Louis. He finished with three hits in his first multihomer game.

“We had them,” McCann said. “We had them down, but the balls started flying out of here in this hitter’s paradise and we let them back into it.”

Chipper Jones, who went 3-for-3, and Edgar Renteria also homered for Atlanta. Chuck James yielded six runs and seven hits in five innings.

Morillo lasted four innings, allowing seven runs and eight hits.

“This will be hard not thinking about the playoffs,” Cox said. “All I’ll think about now is showing up on Tuesday.”


: OF Andruw Jones saved a run by making a diving catch of Ryan Spilborghs’ line drive in third inning. … 3B Chipper Jones was back in the starting lineup after being out of it for the for three games with soreness in the second toe of his right foot. … Castilla made his first start at third base for Colorado since Oct. 3, 2004 while with Houston. … The teams split the six-game season series.

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