Kyle Freeland’s solid start earns Rockies a doubleheader split with Padres – The Denver Post


SAN DIEGO — Two solid starts equaled a split decision for the Rockies on Saturday at Petco Park.

After losing the first game 2-1 in 10 innings in excruciating fashion, the Rockies rebounded for a 6-2 victory in Game 2 of the doubleheader behind another solid start by lefty Kyle Freeland.

“My main focus was just to put the team in a position to win,” said Freeland, who’s shaved his ERA from a 6.16 at the end of April to a 4.39. “Hopefully that means I can give us at least six innings every time out.”

Colorado also received another stellar performance from Alex Colomé, who pitched a scoreless eighth. The right-hander has pitched 15 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, dating back to May 11. He’s only walked one batter during that scoreless run.

The Rockies, who’ve struggled to put together timely hits on the road, sent 10 men to the plate in their five-run third inning, chasing rookie left-hander MacKenzie Gore from the game. The key hits were RBI singles by C.J. Cron, Randal Grichuk and catcher Elias Diaz.

“Good for the offense,” manager Bud Black said. “The way we came out showed a little bit of resolve for our guys. We had some good at-bats and took our walks. This guy is a good young pitcher with good stuff and I thought our guys were intent on every pitch.”

In his last start, Gore posted his third consecutive quality start, improved to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.60 in San Diego’s 4-0 victory at Milwaukee. He entered Saturday’s game riding a 15-inning scoreless streak, but he walked four and gave up six runs on five hits in his 2 1/3 innings of work on Saturday.

After a roller coaster start to his season, Freeland is back on track. The lefty shackled San Diego’s bats for six innings, giving up two runs on three hits. He walked two and fanned three.

It was Freeland’s second solid start in a row, coming on the heels of his June 4 start against Atlanta at Coors Field when he pitched a season-high seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, walking one and striking out three.

“Kyle wasn’t as crisp as his last game, but it goes to show you that he can make a pitch when he needs to and gets back in the count when he needs to,” Black said.

Saturday, for a change, Freeland received some run support. Entering the game he had received two or fewer runs of support in eight of his 11 starts.

Colorado lost the opener despite a brilliant start by rookie right-hander Ryan Feltner and more stellar work by its bullpen. The sudden end came without the Padres getting a hit in the 10th inning.

With two outs, reliever Carlos Estevez threw a wild pitch and Padres “ghost runner” Manny Machado broke for third from second base. Diaz threw wildly to third for an error and Machado scored the winning run.

Black, while lamenting the Rockies’ lack of a clutch hit — they were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position — was impressed by Feltner’s start and said that the right-hander would remain with the team going forward, rather than being sent back to Triple-A Albuquerque. Feltner could be used as either a starter or as a long reliever.

“What I liked was the fastball aggressiveness, and he had good use of the slider,” Black said. “He had a couple of curveballs and a couple of changeups in the mix, so he used his arsenal.”

Feltner, making his fifth start this season and the seventh of his career, said that Saturday’s game will help him going forward.

“This is a great environment here,” he said of Petco Park. “It’s a great team and they have a good lineup. So being able to see how my stuff plays against a team like this is great.”

Feltner got some well-deserved hugs from his teammates following his afternoon of work. Over six innings, the rookie right-hander allowed one run on two hits and walked just one.

The lone snag in his day was giving up a one-out solo home run to Trent Grisham in the third. Grisham sent Feltner’s 96 mph first-pitch fastball into the right-field seats to give San Diego a 1-0 lead.

Feltner, who trimmed his ERA from 5.85 to 4.85, could have blinked in the sixth but he didn’t. After giving up a two-out single to Jurickson Profar and walking Jake Cronenworth, Feltner faced Machado, the MVP candidate, for the third time in the game. Feltner threw a crisp 0-2 slider that Machado popped up  Cron at first, ending the threat.

“He’s a great hitter, so I knew that I had to adjust my plan a little bit,” Feltner said. “I knew I had to make the right pitches in the right spots. Buddy signaled from the dugout to take some deep breaths and relax. That was big for me.”


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