Freeland deals again, Rockies hang on late to split series in LA

Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It is more than a little bit ironic that the Colorado Rockies have made a habit of winning, but also losing, close games.

They've blown their fair share of saves, including an ugly one in the first of a two-game set against the Los Angeles Angels. So, naturally, they brought in their other signature move; bouncing back from devastating losses for feel-good wins.

Colorado got another beautiful start from lefty Kyle Freeland who is removing qualifiers like "Coors Field" or even "young" to become one of the best all-around pitchers in MLB this season. His six-inning, one-run performance brought his ERA on the season to 2.90.

On paper, that meant the visitors were at an advantage with the home club needing to piece together relievers by design from the beginning of the game.

But the offense couldn't sustain an attack, leaving it up to the bullpen to hang onto another slim late lead. This time, they held, earning another close win on the road and keeping themselves more than alive in the hunt for an NL West title.

The Rockies did flip the early-inning script by not only keeping the Angels off the board but by getting on it themselves. Charlie Blackmon led things off with a double to right and moved over to third on a lineout from DJ LeMahieu.

Carlos Gonzalez only needed a groundball to the right side or a flyball in order to get the Rockies a first-inning advantage but saw a hanging curveball right down the middle and smashed it deep over the wall in right to give his club a 2-0 lead.

The Angels struck back thanks in part to the former-Rockie who played their hero in the first game of the set. Eric Young Jr. hit a liner to right for a single, moved up on a wild pitch, and scored on a two-out single up the middle from David Fletcher.

Colorado got that run back in the seventh when Trevor Story used his speed to manufacture one. He singled to lead off the inning and swiped second, his 21st stolen base of the season, and moved up to third on a flyout from Gerardo Parra.

That made Ian Desmond's job much easier and the veteran came through with a second straight fly ball to left field. Story tagged and sprinted home to make it 3-1, Rockies.

Scott Oberg came on for Kyle Freeland in the seventh and worked a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts.

But the Angels were able to get to him in the eighth. Fletcher led off with a line drive single to left and was able to move up on a deep drive to center off the bat of Mike Trout. Once again, a wild pitch became a factor when Oberg bounced one off the plate allowing Fletcher to reach third.

That also meant that Albert Pujols ensuing drive to center, that Blackmon was able to track down, became a sac fly, pulling Los Angeles to within one at 3-2.

It was Wade Davis time in the ninth, clinging to a one-run lead. He struck out Rene Rivera then seemed to lose the handle against Shohei Ohtani but somehow worked back into the count and got him to swing at a full-count pitch in the dirt. Chris Iannetta did a nice job to track the ball down and fire to first, barely beating Ohtani for the second out.

He got ahead of Taylor Ward 1-2 but missed twice to pull the count full again. He came back with a high fastball and got the swinging strikeout to make it three in a row and secure the win. That also gave Davis his NL-leading 36th save.

Colorado improved to 72-60. With the Arizona Diamondbacks losing on a walk-off to the San Francisco Giants, the Rockies are once again tied with their rivals atop the stanings in the NL West.

Final Stats:

Kyle Freeland: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

Scott Oberg: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Wade Davis: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (S: 36)


Charlie Blackmon: 2-for-4, 1 R

Carlos Gonzalez: 1-for-3, 1 R, 2 RBI


What's Next:

After an off day, the Rockies are off to San Diego for a three-game set with the Padres. Thursday's starters have not yet been announced. First pitch at 8:10 Mountain Time.

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