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Trevor Story and Brendan Rodgers homer in Rockies’ road victory over Braves

Are the Rockies finally solving their season-long road woes?

Colorado defeated the Atlanta Braves, 5-4, on Tuesday night at Truist Park to improve the team to 4-1 at the halfway point of its current 10-game road trip. Trevor Story and Brendan Rodgers both homered to bolster a resilient Jon Gray start.

The Rockies (67-78) play again on Wednesday in their second of three games in Atlanta. Colorado improved to 22-51 away from Coors Field this year.

The Rockies overcame an early scare on Tuesday. Gray, in his first at-bat, appeared to take a pitch off his right fingertips on a bunt attempt facing Atlanta starter Touki Toussaint. Gray initially winced in pain as athletic trainers examined him for several moments. He returned to the plate and struck out.

Gray — after repeatedly flexing his right hand — stayed in the game to pitch. He didn’t seem fazed.

“A lot of concern,” manager Bud Black said. “A 97-mile-per-hour sinking fastball with movement that hits you on the tip of your index finger of your throwing hand … we got lucky. That could have been a fractured index finger. … But that wasn’t the case. It was sore from the top of the knuckle to the tip of the finger. But the soreness resolved itself relatively quickly.”

Gray fanned seven Braves and threw strikes on 61 of 90 pitches over five innings. He gave up a tying run in the fourth, 2-2, after consecutive doubles from Travis d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson. But Gray retired the Braves in order to end the fifth and he got plenty of run support.

Story’s recent power surge continued in the second with a home run blasted 430 feet to center. Then Ryan McMahon walked, Elias Diaz singled, and Garrett Hampson gave Colorado a 2-1 lead with an RBI single. Rodgers put Colorado ahead in the fifth, 4-2, with a two-run homer after Raimel Tapia singled. Hampson tripled in the sixth and scored on a Rio Ruiz sacrifice fly.

“We’re playing good ball right now,” Rodgers said. “We’re just trying to ruin playoff hopes, honestly. It’s kind of fun winning these big games and close games against really good teams. … Just keep getting those timely hits.”

Colorado’s bullpen combination of Daniel Bard and Tyler Kinley held the Braves scoreless.

Atlanta clawed back in the eighth, 5-4, with an Adam Duvall two-run homer off Rockies’ reliever Jhoulys Chacin. But Carlos Estevez earned his eighth save of the season.

Gray got off to a rough start in the first with three allowed hits, including a Freddy Freeman RBI single, for an early 1-0 Braves advantage.

Hilliard’s dad loses ALS battle. The Rockies family lost a cherished parental force in the clubhouse.

Jim Hilliard, the father of outfielder Sam Hilliard, died Sunday as the result of ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — after being diagnosed in 2018. The family announced his passing on Tuesday in a Twitter post (@TeamHilliardALS): Our Jim Hilliard conquered ALS early Sunday, September 12, 2021, and left his broken body behind for glory and eternity with his Heavenly Father. ALS is cruel, but Jim Hilliard faced it with courage, grace, and a faith that was amazing. We will miss him.

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