Maybe early in the season, Colorado manager Jim Tracy pulls his starters and puts in a pitcher for mop-up duty. Not now, not with the Rockies trying to stay in the playoff race.
Down 10-1 in the third inning, the Rockies did everything they could to come back. And they did, matching the biggest rally in team history and stunning the Atlanta Braves 12-10 Wednesday on Troy Tulowitzki's go-ahead RBI single in the eighth.
"What an effort," Tracy said. "The thing I've fallen in love with these players is they don't quit. We were short-handed pitching and then offensively, here we go, and we started chipping away. This is the icing on the cake."
The Rockies gradually cut into the deficit against the NL East leaders before taking the lead with four runs in the eighth. Carlos Gonzalez hit a tying, two-run single with two outs, and Tulowitzki and Todd Helton followed with RBI singles.
The Rockies finished off a three-game sweep and won their fourth straight overall. The streak came after a skid that saw Colorado lose seven of 10 and drop behind in the wild-card race.
Atlanta despite getting 10 extra-base hits, three more than Colorado.
"This was a heck of a game," Helton said. "It would have been easy to fold it up, but we didn't. We went out there and had an unbelievable win."
Colorado also rallied from nine runs down to beat Florida 18-17 on July 4, 2008.
The major league record for the biggest comeback is 12 runs — it's happened three times, most recently by Cleveland against Seattle in 2001. The NL record of 11 runs has been done three times, with Houston doing it to St. Louis in 1994.
With one out in the eighth and the Rockies trailing 10-8, reliever Jonny Venters (4-2) walked Chris Iannetta and Melvin Mora singled. One out later, Dexter Fowler walked and Gonzalez singled. Kyle Farnsworth relieved, and Tulowitzki and Helton delivered their hits.
"I got a couple pitches up, but I think the walks are what really did me in overall," Venters said. "This one hurts, but we've got a game day after tomorrow and we'll get right back out there and try to win."
Matt Belisle (6-4) picked up the win, pitching 1 1-3 innings in relief.
Brian McCann matched his career best with four hits, including an RBI single in the Braves' four-run second. Martin Prado doubled and drove in three runs and Jason Heyward tripled, doubled and scored twice.
The Braves were shut out over the final six innings.
"You can score a lot of runs, but you've got to keep playing hard, especially in this stadium, because you never know what can happen," Atlanta shortstop Alex Gonzalez said.
Atlanta chased Colorado starter Esmil Rogers with two outs in the second inning, tagging him for seven runs and eight hits.
Manuel Corpas relieved Rogers but was lifted in the fourth inning after he felt pain in his pitching elbow. Corpas gave up a leadoff double to McCann and then stepped off the rubber and motioned toward the Rockies dugout, seeking the team trainer's assistance.
After a brief examination and consultation on the mound, Corpas walked off the field holding his right elbow. He went 1 1-3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits, including Omar Infante's third-inning homer.
Tracy said Corpas was scheduled for an MRI scan on Thursday.
Colorado pulled within 10-8 with successive three-run innings in the fifth and sixth. Fowler hit a two-run triple in the fifth and scored when shortstop Alex Gonzalez threw wildly on the relay.
Seth Smith, who had a solo homer in the second, hit an RBI double in the sixth that chased Atlanta starter Jair Jurrjens. Peter Moylan relieved and walked Iannetta before giving up a pinch-hit, two-run double to Ryan Spilborghs.
"Any comeback, especially when you are down by nine, is going to be remarkable," Spilborghs said.
Heyward tripled with one out in the first to start a three-run burst that also included Prado's RBI single and Melky Cabrera's run-scoring double.
The Braves added four more runs in the second, getting a pair on Prado's two-run double. Omar Infante keyed the Braves' three-run third with a two-run homer off Corpas that extended his career-best hitting streak to 14 games.
Ian Stewart's sacrifice fly in the fourth for Colorado made it 10-2.
NOTES: RHP Rafael Betancourt of the Rockies was not available for a second straight game with a lower abdominal strain. He will play catch and throw off a mound Friday and be re-evaluated. ... Infante's 14-game hitting streak is a season-long for a Braves player. He has at least one hit in 26 of his last 27 games ... The Braves return to Atlanta to open a seven-game stand at home, where they are a major-league best 44-17. ... McCann has had five four-hit games in his career.