Rockies nip Braves on Carlos Gonzalez's two-out RBI single in 9th

DENVER -- Carlos Gonzalez gave his family members quite the send-off thanks in large part to Martin Prado's tough night.

Gonzalez singled home the winning run off Eric O'Flaherty with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Colorado Rockies to a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.

"It's always special when my family's here" the Venezuelan slugger said. "They don't have that opportunity every day to get to see me play and it's funny because two nights ago my sister was telling me, 'I don't want to leave here without seeing you hit a home run.' And I hit a home run last night and today was another special game.

"You don't have that opportunity every day to drive a guy home and (celebrate)."

Or to go home and rejoice some more with relatives who are flying out Thursday.

Prado's rare fielding error at third base paved the way for Gonzalez's big moment.

O'Flaherty (1-3) retired his first two batters before Prado let Dexter Fowler's grounder go through his legs for a two-base error.

"No excuse," Prado said. "I should've stayed down, stopped that ball."

Pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton was intentionally walked, bringing up Gonzalez, who slapped the first pitch he saw into right field, scoring Fowler from second.

That made a winner out of Huston Street (1-3), who threw a 1-2-3 ninth, which ended with Fowler catching pinch-hitter Brian McCann's drive up against the wall.

"You just hate to lose a ballgame, two outs nobody on in the ninth and one of your best defenders makes an error," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But that's the way it goes and I was the first one to pat him on the back when he came off the field."

It wasn't that easy to console Prado, though.

"I hope this game is not going to cost us at the end of the year," Prado said. "I don't have any excuses. I have to make that play. I had a real tough game offensive-wise (0 for 4) and defensively. I guess it's one of those nights, it's going to be hard to sleep."

Prado wasn't just kicking himself for his error, either. The one time he did reach base, he was thrown out at home on a play he and many others thought was going to be an easy run-scoring groundout.

The Braves put runners at second and third with no outs in the sixth as Prado reached on an error and Freddie Freeman followed with a double down the right field line.

Prado took off on Dan Uggla's groundball to Ian Stewart and was so surprised that the third baseman threw home that he was tagged out without even sliding.

"It's a difficult play for Stewart and for him to even come to the plate kind of surprised everybody a little bit," Gonzalez said.

Second baseman Mark Ellis then made a run-saving stab of Jason Heyward's groundball for the second out, and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki capped the inning with a barehanded grab of Alex Gonzalez's comebacker that ricocheted off rookie right-hander Juan Nicasio and fired to first in the nick of time.

Gonzalez said he couldn't blame Prado for trying to score on Uggla's grounder to third.

"I think it's a good read on his part. The ball going to Stewart's left. It looked like he maybe just hesitated a little bit. But nobody out, it's obviously not a contact play, but if he reads that third base going to his left -- it's a difficult play Stewart made look pretty easy," Gonzalez said. "Then Ellis made a great play on the ball to his left and Tulowitzki on the slow roller."

Backed by such stellar defense, Nicasio was again overpowering at Coors Field, allowing one run and five hits over seven innings. He stood to improve to 5-0 at home until Matt Lindstrom blew the save in just two pitches in the eighth inning.

Jordan Schafer led off with a single against Rex Brothers, who retired the next two batters before giving way to Lindstrom. Schafer stole second on Lindstrom's first pitch and Uggla lined his second offering into center field to score Schafer.

Nicasio lowered his ERA at Coors Field to 1.57 thanks to command of his fastball and more sink on his slider.

Helton gave Colorado a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run shot into the seats in right field, his 11th homer. The Braves cut their deficit in half in the second when Heyward singled and scored on a double by David Ross.

Braves right-hander Tim Hudson allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings.

Game notes
Heyward had missed the last two games with a bruised left foot. ... Uggla extended his hitting streak to 12 games, tying his career-high set last summer, and his RBI snapped Brothers' scoreless streak at 10 innings covering 12 appearances and dating to June 19.