Kyle Freeland falters, Zack Wheeler dominates as Phillies beat Rockies – The Denver Post

Friday night, after watching German Marquez deftly handle the Phillies in an 11-2 Rockies win, manager Bud Black talked baseball philosophy.

“There’s responsibility for that position. The starting pitcher is the most critical player on the team, every night,” Black said. “His performance, more often than not, dictates whether we win or lose.”

Saturday night, right-hander Zack Wheeler dictated that the Phillies would win. Wheeler dominated the Rockies in a 6-1 victory at Citizens Bank Park, pitching 6 2/3 innings of one-run, four-hit baseball. He fanned eight and walked just one.

Meanwhile, Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland, who is faltering in September, didn’t measure up. For the second consecutive start, Freeland was not sharp. The Phillies reached him for four runs on six hits over six innings, including a solo homer by Jean Segura in the fifth.

But it was the four walks — one intentional, but three in the fourth inning — that hurt Freeland the most. After Segura led off the fourth with a single, Freeland walked three of the next four hitters he faced, with Didi Gregorious’ free pass bringing home a run.

The Phillies’ three-run fourth was highlighted by a gutsy, old-school surprise by Odúbel Herrera. With two outs and the bases still loaded, Herrera dragged a perfect bunt that dribbled down the third baseline for a two-run double. With third baseman Ryan McMahon shaded toward second, the chance was there for Herrera. He took it and threaded the needle past a scrambling McMahon, driving in Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen.

In Freeland’s last start, he was charged with seven earned runs over 4 1/3 innings vs. the Giants at Coors Field. He issued three walks and gave up four home runs. Freeland has served up eight homers over this last five starts after allowing only three homers in his previous 10 starts.

Colorado’s lone run came off the bat of Trevor Story in the sixth. He hit a massive, two-out solo homer off Wheeler. Story dropped to one knee and added a flamboyant bat flip after connecting for a 441-foot blast to left field. The ball came off his bat at 107 mph and landed in the second deck. It was Story’s 21st homer of the season.

The Rockies had some scoring chances, but squandered them, going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Philly sewed up the win with solo homers by Brad Miller and Harper in the eighth off right-hander Tyler Kinley.

Colorado, which won the first two games of the four-game series, will attempt to clinch a rare road series win on Sunday afternoon.

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