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De La Rosa shuts down Braves
Derek Lowe reacts as Seth Smith rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning Tuesday in Denver. - photo by The Associated Press

DENVER — Jorge De La Rosa and home cooking have the Colorado Rockies feeling confident again. They will have to take that on the road if they want to return to the postseason.

De La Rosa pitched seven effective innings and Carlos Gonzalez hit his 26th home run to lead Colorado to a 5-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.

Seth Smith also homered, Eric Young had a career-high three hits and Huston Street worked the ninth for his 12th save for the Rockies, who are 20 games over .500 at Coors Field.

"We've started to generate a little bit of momentum for ourselves," manager Jim Tracy said. "When you're 40-20 at home, there's a lot of good things going on here. Maybe we can take about 35,000 of these people on our next road trip."

The Rockies will need that vibe when they hit the road next week, where they are 25-40 a year after finishing 41-40 on the road when they reached the playoffs as the NL wild card.

"We feed off the energy of the crowd and it gets us going," Young said. "We have to figure out how to get the same kind of energy ourselves on the road."

More starts like De La Rosa (5-4) had Tuesday would help. The lefty had his best outing since missing nearly three months with a torn pulley tendon on his left middle finger. He allowed two runs and six hits, struck out seven and walked one in earning his second win since coming off the disabled list July 9.

"Right now I feel like my rhythm is much better," he said. "My finger was bothering a little bit but everything's fine."

Alex Gonzalez's home run and two RBIs was all the offense for Atlanta, which has lost two straight.

"De La Rosa was unbelievable," outfielder Matt Diaz said. "The changeup of his was the best I've ever seen from him."

After Gonzalez's fourth home run made it 2-1 in the second inning, the Braves couldn't solve De La Rosa. He retired 14 of the next 16 batters, and the only one who gave him trouble was pitcher Derek Lowe, who singled in the third and drew a leadoff walk in the sixth. Lowe was erased when Colorado turned one of its four double plays.

"De La Rosa was lights out," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

De La Rosa struck out the first two batters of the seventh but when he went 1-0 on Diaz, Tracy and trainer Keith Dugger went to the mound to look at his pitching hand.

Tracy said De La Rosa dinged his index finger grounding out in the bottom of the sixth and it was bothering him. He stayed in the game and Diaz singled to right, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Gonzalez's single to make it 3-2.

De La Rosa got Melky Cabrera to ground out to end the inning, and the bullpen finished the win.

"Our best-case scenario was send him back out there for the eighth inning. That's how well he was throwing," Tracy said. "I didn't think it would be a very good idea to send him out there and not have it work, create a mess and then ask the bullpen to clean it up."

The Rockies gave their starter the lead right away. Young hit a grounds-rule double to lead off the bottom of the first and one out later Gonzalez hit Lowe's 1-2 slider into the Colorado bullpen to give the Rockies a 2-0 lead.

The Rockies had chances to extend the lead. Young was stranded at third twice, including when Colorado loaded the bases in the fifth. Todd Helton, coming off his first four-hit game in more than a year, hit a broken-bat lineout to second to end the threat.

Smith gave De La Rosa breathing room when he led off the sixth with his 15th home run to make it 3-1.

The Rockies added two unearned runs in the ninth on Dexter Fowler's two-out, bases-loaded single off reliever Takashi Saito.

Lowe (11-12) allowed three runs and six hits, walked two and struck out four in six innings.

"I saw a lot of baserunners and I minimized the damage," Lowe said. "All in all tonight could have been a lot worse. I worked out of trouble."

NOTES: Braves 2B Omar Infante extended his hitting streak to a career-best 13 games with an infield single to lead off the game. ... Rockies RHP Aaron Cook (turf toe) is scheduled to make his next rehab start for Double-A Tulsa on Saturday.

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