Saturday night, Atkins rewarded the interim manager's faith and delivered with his bat and his legs.
Atkins' came through with a two-out, game-tying single in the bottom of the ninth and then raced home from first base and the Rockies rallied against closer Heath Bell to beat the San Diego Padres on Saturday night, 8-7.
"I watched this guy drive in over 200 some-odd runs for a couple of seasons," said Tracy, who took over as manager when the Rockies fired Clint Hurdle on Friday. "You don't do that by accident."
Atkins' also had an error in the first inning that started San Diego's three-run rally, but he made up for it.
The Rockies trailed 7-6 after pinch-hitter Scott Hairston hit a one-out solo homer in the top of the ninth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Clint Barmes, who had four hits, singled and stole second. After Todd Helton grounded out, Atkins singled through the mound to tie the game.
"I jumped out of the way. I was basically scared," Bell said. "My initial reaction was to move left. I flinched left. I was hating myself because I thought I could have gotten that. If I reacted to the right I think I could have gotten it."
"Once I saw him dive and it got by him I was taking off," Atkins said. "I was running like I was going to be scoring."
Gwynn felt he had a chance to catch the ball when it came off of Hawpe's bat.
"I thought I could have gotten it," he said. "In Colorado, balls hold up a little bit more."
Bell (2-1) blew his first save in 15 chances.
Reliever Huston Street (1-1) got the win.
Adrian Gonzalez homered and drove in three runs for the Padres, who have lost three of their last four after a 10-game winning streak.
Hawpe homered and Barmes had two doubles and a triple for Colorado, which is 2-0 Tracy replaced Hurdle.
"I definitely think the team's played a lot more relaxed lately," Barmes said. "You can tell in the dugout there's a lot more energy. It's definitely something we need."
The Padres never trailed until the ninth in this back-and-forth game. Gonzalez gave them a 3-0 lead in the first with his major league-leading 19th homer, but the Rockies came right back in the bottom of the inning.
Barmes tripled with one out, Helton doubled and one out later Hawpe hit his seventh homer of the season to tie the game.
The Padres took a 4-3 lead on Josh Wilson's RBI double in the second, but Colorado tied it on Atkins' sacrifice fly that scored Barmes in the third.
San Diego took the lead in the fourth and chased starter Jason Hammel. With two outs and the game tied at 4, Geer reached on an infield single, Gwynn tripled to center and David Eckstein singled to make it 6-4.
Hammel gave up six runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.
The Rockies tied it in the seventh. Troy Tulowitzki turned a blooper to center into a triple and scored on Ryan Spilborghs' groundout. Dexter Fowler followed with a bloop double down the left-field line to chase starter Josh Geer.
Barmes doubled off of Gregerson to make it 6-6.
Geer allowed six runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings
"We never coughed up a lead until the ninth," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The Rockies bounced back a couple of times to tie the game, but we went ahead until things went their way in the ninth."
Padres RHP Jake Peavy continued to receive treatment on his left ankle. Peavy developed tendinitis in the ankle from running the bases on May 22 in Chicago. Black said he will be re-evaluated on Sunday concerning his next start. ... Barmes' four hits ties a career-high.