Extra MustardSI On CampusFantasyPhoto GalleriesSwimsuitVideoFanNationSI KidsTNT
Updated: Tuesday, September 27, 2005 1:23 AM EDT



  R H E  
Rockies 6 15 0 WP: Speier (2-1)
LP: Reitsma (3-6)
S: Fuentes (31)  
Braves 5 11 0
Greene homer prevents Braves from clinching

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- For seven innings it looked like the Atlanta Braves were going to have to hang around to see if they had clinched another division title. Todd Greene allowed them to go home early.

Greene hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning as the Colorado Rockies posted a 6-5 victory over the Braves, who were looking to clinch their unprecedented 14th consecutive division title.

A win and a Philadelphia loss to New York, a game which was delayed by rain, would have given Atlanta its 11th consecutive National League East crown. The first three titles in the Braves' remarkable run came in the NL West. The Phillies lost, 6-5, to the New York Mets , reducing the Braves magic number to one for clinching the division title.

Atlanta carried a 5-3 lead into the eighth and had red-hot Chris Reitsma (3-6) on the mound and unhittable Kyle Farnsworth , who had converted all 10 of his save opportunities, ready for the ninth, when it all fell apart.

After John Foster retired Todd Helton to start the inning, Reitsma surrendered singles to Matt Holliday and Garret Atkins.

Greene, a native of Augusta, Georgia who had friends and family in the stands, including his dad Charles, who is battling lung and bladder cancer, drilled a 1-2 pitch over the left field fence for his seventh homer of the season.

"I grew up a Braves fan all my life," Greene said. "With all of my friends and family here, it's the best hit I've ever gotten. ... It was probably going to be a ball. I think it was a changeup.

"It was down and in," Reitsma said. "I put it where I wanted. He kind of stayed back and hit it one-handed. He's a strong guy."

The Braves righthander had allowed just one run over 11 1/3 innings this month

Ryan Speier (2-1) pitched a scoreless seventh, Mike DeJean tossed a perfect eighth and Brian Fuentes struck out the side, including Brian Jordan with a runner on third to end the game, to record his 31st save.

"We'd like to win the division," Reitsma said. "You have to take it day by day. Tonight was one of those days where it's not a lot of fun, but tomorrow is another day."

Homers by Adam LaRoche and Andruw Jones and a two-run double by Johnny Estrada helped Atlanta to a 5-1 lead in the fifth, but Colorado scored twice in the sixth on a double by Helton and a single by Garret Atkins.

Braves starter Horacio Ramirez departed after the Helton double in the fifth, yielding three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"I felt good," Ramirez said. "That sixth inning, I got the ball up a little bit. ... We wanted to win it today. We'll get them tomorrow. We've got confidence in our team. Hopefully, we'll get the N.L. East title as soon as possible."

Blaine Boyer finished the sixth inning but left after his first pitch of the seventh with an inflamed right shoulder.

"I just felt some stiffness in my shoulder," said Boyer, who is listed as day-to-day. "I didn't want to do anything too stupid. I wanted to be cautious."

23-year-old Mike Esposito , making just his second major league appearance and start for Colorado, yielded five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Helton had two hits for the Rockies to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. The reigning National League Player of the Week is batting a National League-best .379 (72-for-190) since the All-Star Break.

divider line