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Newest Braves reliever Downs earns win vs. Rockies

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Brandon Beachy's return from Tommy John surgery didn't go well and Jordan Walden couldn't lock down his first save for the Atlanta Braves. But it turned out neither mattered.

Andrelton Simmons tripled in the winning run in the 10th inning and Scott Downs got the victory just hours after being acquired as the Braves defeated the Colorado Rockies 9-8 on Monday night for their fourth straight victory.

"I got to meet a couple of my teammates on the mound," said Downs, who arrived at Turner Field only about 15 minutes before first pitch.

Then the veteran left-handed reliever got to know Simmons a little better during the victory celebration.

"I've had a lot of opportunities (with runners on base) and I'm glad to finally be cashing them in," said Simmons, who was 3-for-5. "Everybody likes the big moments."

It looked like Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez was going to be the man of the hour until Simmons came through.

Gonzalez, who had missed the Rockies' previous three games after aggravating his sprained right index finger, was 5-for-5 and drove in the tying run in the ninth inning.

But Dan Uggla led off the 10th with a walk for the Braves and came around to score on Simmons' shot that rolled to the fence in left-center field off Edgmer Escalona. It was Simmons' seventh game-winning hit of the season, although his average with runners in scoring position is .202.

With Craig Kimbrel unavailable after saving each of the three weekend victories against St. Louis, Walden came in to pitch the ninth for the Braves and couldn't get the job done.

Dexter Fowler walked with one out and DJ LeMahieu followed with a single. Then Gonzalez tied it with his fifth hit. After the runners advanced on Troy Tulowitzki's long fly ball, Michael Cuddyer was walked intentionally. Downs replaced Walden and caught Todd Helton's liner to get out of the jam with one pitch.

Downs, a 12-year veteran, struck out Fowler with a runner at third base to end the top of the 10th and got the victory when Simmons came through in the clutch.

"Every athlete wants to get somewhere where you can win and are wanted," said Downs, who had a 1.84 ERA in 43 appearances for the Angels.

Wilin Rosario and Nolan Arenado each homered for Colorado against Beachy, who struggled in his return 13 months after Tommy John surgery.

Beachy allowed eight hits -- five for extra bases -- and was charged with seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked one while throwing 84 pitches.

Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa, who came in with a 2.97 ERA, didn't fool anyone, either. He allowed 10 hits in five innings and was charged with eight runs, five of them earned.

"It was one of those games," De La Rosa said.

Beachy, who was tied for the National League lead last year with a 2.00 ERA and limited opponents to a .171 average, hadn't allowed a hit in 3 2/3 innings against Baltimore when he hurt his elbow last June 13.

The 26-year-old was penciled in to return against the Mets on June 18, but developed inflammation in the elbow during what was to be his last tune-up and was shut down for several weeks before making four final rehab starts with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Beachy had a 2.50 ERA in those games, but the Rockies solved him early on Monday.

"I'm not going to chalk this up to part of the process," Beachy said. "I pitched poorly. Every pitch I hung they hit."

But the Braves scored six runs in the third inning to go up by a run and took an 8-7 lead with two runs in the fifth before the Rockies forced extra innings thanks to Gonzalez.

"It was tough to lose a game like this," Gonzalez said. "We probably should have won, but they got the big hit."

The Rockies left fielder had two stolen bases in addition to two RBIs and the five-hit game was his second of the season.

"We haven't played our best baseball yet. I hope it's not too late when we do," Gonzalez said.

NOTES: RHP Kameron Loe was designated for assignment by the Braves to make room for Downs. ... The Rockies sent 1B Jordan Pacheco to Triple-A Colorado Springs and promoted INF Charlie Culberson, who was hitting .418 in his last 18 games. Pacheco hit .229 in 69 games with the Rockies. ... Rookie LHP Alex Wood (0-2, 3.42) will make his second start in place of injured LHP Paul Maholm (wrist) on Tuesday night. RHP Juan Nicasio (6-4, 4.40) will start for the Rockies. ... The Braves took two of three from the Rockies at Colorado in late-April.
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