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Freeland dominates, Rockies hold onto division lead with win over Dodgers

Drew Creasman Avatar
September 9, 2018

DENVER – The questions have been arising in the past few days about what it is going to take for the Colorado Rockies to emerge from this season with their first ever NL West division title.

While one can certainly look to individuals like Trevor Story or a possible late resurgence from Nolan Arenado, or even the young man who took the mound in the second game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but their 4-2 victory on Saturday night at Coors Field showed that it is going to take everyone on the roster to get the job done in front of a sellout crowd.

A smattering of contributions from veterans backed up another quality outing from their young starter whose name should be creeping into Cy Young conversations. On a day when Arenado did not start and Story and Carlos Gonzalez went a combined 0-for-8, this was the definition of a team win.

Kyle Freeland continues to dominate Coors Field. The Dodgers remained patient as they often do, driving up his pitch count, but he fought through six innings, holding one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball to one run on four hits while striking out eight. He lowered his ERA on the season to 2.91.

The scoreless tie was broken up on the first pitch of the bottom of the third, a fastball on the outer half that Chris Iannetta pummeled into the seats above the high scoreboard in right field.

They added another in the fourth when David Dahl came up with a one-out hustle double. The Dodgers were playing him deep and he took advantage on a sinking liner to right by turning on the jets and sprinting to second. That paid off when Ian Desmond singled through the right side in the next at-bat, scoring Dahl from second. Desmond was thrown out on the play trying to move up a base, the Dodgers electing to get him out rather than try for a play at the plate.

Chris Taylor answered by getting the Dodgers on the board in the top of the fifth. He fell behind Freeland 0-2 but took a ball before hammering a hanging slider deep over the wall in center for his 15th home run of the season. The Rockies lefty bounced back to retire the next three in quick succession.

Iannetta was at it again, leading off the bottom of the fifth by ripping a hanging curveball down the left-field line for a double. Freeland was unable to move him up, striking out on a fouled-off bunt attempt, but Charlie Blackmon came through by launching one deep into the Denver night and into the second deck in right-field for his 24th home run of the season, extending Colorado’s advantage to 4-1.

Freeland was cruising, throwing a first-pitch strike in 16 of the first 18 encounters of the game. With his pitch count climbing toward the mid-90s, he walked Manny Machado with one out in the sixth then misfired on his first pitch to Matt Kemp. That prompted Iannetta to come out for a quick mound visit. Freeland then struck out Kemp on three straight strikes and got David Freese swinging after a four-pitch at-bat.

That was it for Freeland’s night as Scott Oberg came on to face four straight left-handed pinch-hitters in the seventh. He struck out Alex Verdugo then couldn’t locate a 3-2 pitch to Cody Bellinger, issuing the walk. He then got Max Muncy on a check-swing strike three call.

The fourth power lefty off the bench for the Dodgers was Joc Pederson and Oberg got him on a check-swing as well, making it a strikeout of the side.

It was Adam Ottavino’s turn in the eighth. Los Angeles went to their fifth-straight lefty pinch-hitter, Chase Utley. Otto worked ahead 1-2 but a slider just kept spinning inside, plunking the former Phillie great. He then missed on his first two pitches to Justin Turner but came back to get the swinging strikeout while Utley stole second without a throw. He got Machado to fly out to shallow right then Matt Kempt to ground out to short, stranding the runner at second.

Wade Davis came on for the ninth and got himself another pinch-hitter, this time in the form of Yasiel Puig. They traded strikes and balls to bring the count full. Davis challenged Puig with a fastball and located it well on the outside black. The slugger went with the pitch and drove it to right but it fell into Gonzalez’ glove on the warning track.

The Rockies closer then struck out Verdugo but left a fastball over the plate for Bellingers who laced it into the left-center field gap for a triple. In the following at-bat, Muncy got ahold of a slider that got just a bit too much of the strike zone, pulling a line drive over Desmond’s head at first for an RBI double.

With chants of “Let’s Go Rockies” thundering throughout the ballpark, Davis finally got the final out of the game, striking out Grandal looking on a cutter that appeared just a bit outside.

Colorado improves to 78-63 and remain in first place in the NL West, now 1.5 games ahead of the Dodgers.

Final Stats:

Kyle Freeland: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

Scott Oberg: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Adam Ottavino: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 1 HBP

Wade Davis: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (S: 39)


Chris Iannetta: 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 RBI (HR: 10)

Charlie Blackmon: 1-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI (HR: 24)

DJ LeMahieu: 2-for-3

David Dahl: 1-for-3, 1 R

What’s Next:

The final game of the series is set for Sunday afternoon. It will be a battle of lefties as Tyler Anderson takes on Rich Hill. First pitch at 1:10 Mountain Time. To the winner goes the series and a big advantage in the race for the NL West crown.


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