A season’s worth of road woes couldn’t spook the Rockies Friday night.
After a fantastic outing from starter Kyle Freeland, Colorado’s shaky bullpen shut the door on the Dodgers and claimed an impressive 4-2 win in Los Angeles. The win improved the Rockies’ record to 59-69 on the season, including 16-47 away from Coors.
“I love pitching here, I love taking wins from these guys, I love beating them at their own park,” Freeland said.
The Dodgers, having won 9 of their last 10 games entering the series, were stymied by Freeland, Jhoulys Chacin, Daniel Bard and Carlos Estevez. Following consecutive ugly outings, Bard pitched a clean eighth inning and gave way to Estevez for the save. Despite a leadoff single and a wild pitch, Estevez struck out the side.
Freeland, who improved to 5-6 on the year, stood near the top step of the dugout as Estevez worked his way through the ninth.
“I kinda felt like I was right there with Este, just grinding with him,” Freeland said.
Catcher Elias Diaz homered in the top of the ninth for an extra bit of insurance.
Outside of two mistakes in the third inning, Freeland was dominant. Aside from those two solo home runs, Freeland kept the Dodgers off balance and baserunners off the pond. His final line: six innings, seven strikeouts, no walks and two earned runs.
Most importantly, he gave the Rockies a chance on the road.
Deadlocked at two through five innings, C.J. Cron broke the tie with a smash deep into the Los Angeles night. Cron took advantage of a hanging changeup from Dodgers rookie Andre Jackson and launched it 482 feet to left. The depth of Cron’s solo shot drew looks of astonishment from his teammates in the dugout.
Nine of Cron’s 23 homers have come in August, which has seen the first baseman drive in 30 runs.
Prior to the game, Rockies manager Bud Black shared an off-the-cuff scouting report for Freeland.
“I think tonight, more than anything, against this lineup, first pitch strikes, aggressive in the strike zone early, get the Dodgers swinging,” Black said. “I think they’re at their best when they’re deeper in the count, taking walks.”
Despite the Dodgers’ overflow of talent, there was trace of optimism given Freeland’s competitiveness and his dominance the last two months. Over his last nine starts, Freeland had allowed more than three earned runs just once.
Freeland was cruising until the third, mixing pitches and hitting spots on both sides of the plate. But Dodgers catcher Will Smith turned on one and drilled the left-field foul pole to get on the board. Two batters later, Trea Turner matched him, sending a 92 MPH sinker deep to left to tie it at 2.
The Rockies didn’t wait long to pounce. After a leadoff single from Connor Joe to start the game, Charlie Blackmon came to the plate and jumped on the first pitch he saw. Blackmon cranked a two-run homer to right field, setting the tone for Friday night’s affair.
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