To be fair, the Rockies offense did not score enough runs to win most Major League Baseball games, however, that that does not excuse two incredibly poor calls in the 9th inning that were largely responsible for the 4-3 loss.
First, confusion ensued when first base umpire Jeff Nelson called a balk on Rockies closer Franklin Morales with Martin Prado on first base. Then, in an awkward scene, Nelson changed his mind, realizing that Morales had thrown to first base for the pick off, meaning that he did not need to come set before throwing there.
The confusion caused Braves manager Bobby Cox to come out for an explanation. After the scene was settled down, Morales went down 2-0 on Brian McCann at the plate. Morales' third pitch was a called strike, however, McCann pointed to rookie second base umpire Damien Bell who had called Morales for a balk. The call erased the strike, moved Prado to second base, and caused Jim Tracy to become more fired up then any other time in his nearly one year as Rockies manager.
If that play wasn't enough, Morales ended up walking McCann, but got Troy Glaus to hit into what should have been a 3-6-1 double play. Morales covered first base and received the throw back from Troy Tulowitzki. To the naked eye it looked as if Glaus was out. The replays confirmed what the naked eye saw. However, first base umpire Jeff Nelson called Glaus safe. Morales may have bludgeoned Nelson had it not been for Todd Helton holding him back.
Morales' focus was gone, and so was the game for the Rockies. The flame throwing lefty walked shortstop Yunel Escobar on four pitches, then, after getting within a strike of getting out of the inning, gave up a base hit to rookie phenom Jason Heyward who punched the ball to left field, scoring two runs and giving the Braves the victory.
The balk call by Bell at second base may have been the most ridiculous call since the 2009 playoff debacles. Bell had just been called up and had not worked a game in the series. To put it lightly, the call was the most blatant example of a giveback call. Morales clearly came set. Hall of Fame writer Tracy Ringolsby's quote on his Twitter account said it best "Damien Bell sure arrived in the big leagues with a big chip on his shoulder. Sad watching a rookie umpire strut with arrogance."
The game was a huge letdown after the team was riding a high after Ubaldo Jimenez's no-hit performance from a night before.
The Rockies look to regroup, and frankly, find their bats on Monday night against a poor Nationals team in Washington. Aaron Cook toes the rubber for the Rockies looking to find his sinker ball.
For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com
This article is also featured on InDenverTimes.com