Final

Series: Game 3 of 4

Colorado leads 2-1 (as of 9/23)

Game 1: Thursday, September 21
Atlanta6Final
Colorado3
Game 2: Friday, September 22
Atlanta4Final
Colorado6
Game 3: Saturday, September 23
Atlanta9Final
Colorado10
Game 4: Sunday, September 24
Atlanta8Final
Colorado9

Braves 9

(75-80, 39-41 away)

Rockies 10

(73-82, 43-34 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 23, 2006

    Coors Field, Denver, Colorado 

    123456789 R H E
    ATL 201110121 9 16 1
    COL 03601000 - 10 14 0

    W: J. Francis (13-11)

    L: K. Davies (3-6)

    S: B. Fuentes (28)

    Rockies youngsters build lead, hang on against Braves

    DENVER (AP) -- While sitting in his chair and answering questions, Troy Tulowitzki tried to peer through the crowd and watch the final moments of the Notre Dame-Michigan State game on the big-screen television.

    "I'm still learning," the Rockies shortstop said after Colorado's 10-9 win over Atlanta on Saturday. "I had some quality … "

    He suddenly perked up in his chair.

    "What happened?" he said.

    "Interception. Notre Dame won," someone answered.

    A fan of Notre Dame, Tulowitzki smiled and settled comfortably back in his chair.

    The youngster had plenty of reason to grin after Saturday's game. He had a pair of hits, drove in two and made a spectacular play on a ball that was hit deep in the hole.

    "I'm learning more every day and trying to get quality at-bats," Tulowitzki said.

    He wasn't the only youngster turning in a quality performance. Jeff Salazar, Jeff Baker, and Chris Iannetta -- all just recently called up -- combined to go 6-for-13 with three RBI.

    "It's been a promising look," manager Clint Hurdle said.

    Especially with Baker. He's now driven 17 runs in 40 at bats this season.

    "You'd be crazy to ask for that," Hurdle said.

    Almost as crazy as it would be to pitch to Andruw Jones these days. Hurdle can't wait to see the slugger leave town. He's crushing the Rockies.

    Jones went 4-for-4 with two homers and three RBI on Saturday.

    "He's done a lot of trotting since he's been here and everytime I look up the ball is bouncing off a wall," Hurdle said.

    Yet home runs No. 38 and 39 meant little to Jones. His team's chances of making the postseason are now almost zero. They trailed the Dodgers by six games in the wild-card race coming into Saturday.

    "You aren't where you want to be as a team, but you still have to try and finish strong," Jones said. "You have to show the younger players that we can battle to win a division title."

    Battling would be a good way to describe what Jeff Francis was doing on the mound Saturday. In frigid 44-degree weather, he couldn't locate his fastball. He allowed runs to score in four of the five innings he pitched.

    But Francis (13-11) found enough control to become the winningest lefty in Rockies history.

    He earned his 30th win for Colorado, surpassing Brian Bohanon's team mark for left-handers.

    It also was Francis' 18th career win at Coors Field, the third-most in club history. Jason Jennings leads the way with 31.

    "To hold any record is an accomplishment," Francis said. "It's flattering."

    He allowed nine hits and five runs overall, but worked out of a crucial bases-loaded, none-out jam in the fifth by getting Jeff Francoeur to roll into a 5-4-3 double play.

    Francis even helped his own cause with a two-run single in the second.

    Kaz Matsui was a tough out Saturday, hitting a two-run triple in a six-run third and scoring a pair of runs. He wound up 2-for-3.

    He wasn't the only one doing some damage. Matt Holliday hit a solo shot to right-center for his 31st homer of the season.

    "They have a nice hitting ballclub," Bobby Cox said. "They have some real good, young hitters."

    Trailing 10-6, the Braves loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, and the Rockies brought in Jeremy Affeldt to face pinch-hitter Chipper Jones, who had yet to play in the series due to a sore foot.

    Affeldt struck out Jones and was relieved by Nate Field, who gave up a two-run single to Edgar Renteria. Manuel Corpas came in to face Matt Diaz, who grounded out to end the inning.

    Brian Fuentes came on in the ninth to earn his 28th save in 33 chances. He allowed an RBI double to Willy Aybar before striking out Adam LaRoche and Todd Pratt to end it.

    "No leads are safe here," Cox said. "One more hit in either the eighth or ninth and it's a different game."

    Atlanta starter Kyle Davies (3-6) lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up 12 hits and a career-high nine earned runs.

    "I gave up some cheap hits," Davies said.

    Game notes


    The Rockies topped the 2 million mark in attendance for the 13th time in their 14-year history. ... The Rockies will honor 3B Vinny Castilla on Sunday with a video tribute and by starting him at third base. Castilla plans to retire following this season. ... Jose Mesa made his 963rd career appearance.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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