Kyle Freeland starts hot, then falls apart, in Rockies’ loss to Dodgers

Kyle Freeland starts hot, then falls apart, in Rockies’ loss to Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — From perfection to dejection. That pretty much sums up Kyle Freeland’s Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

The Rockies’ left-hander threw 4 1/3 perfect innings, with four strikeouts. He was pitching like a Yankee Doodle Dandy on the Fourth of July.

But the Dodgers lit him up for four runs in the fifth inning and held on for a 5-3 victory.

“Those first four innings, everything was working,” Freeland said. “Me and (catcher Elias) Diaz were on the same page, getting early contact and weak contact.”

But things went sideways in a hurry. Justin Turner drilled a one-out single to right on Freeland’s middle-of-the-plate fastball, and then Freeland walked Chris Taylor. Then came the game-defining moment.

On a full count, Trayce Thompson blasted a three-run homer to left off Freeland’s poorly executed slider. The previously tepid Dodgers crowd got rowdy as Colorado pitching coach Darryl Scott visited Freeland on the mound. The fans got even rowdier when Cody Bellinger hit a ground-rule double and Mookie Betts singled him home to make it 4-1.

“That fifth inning, I made one mistake,” Freeland said, referring to the slider he threw to Thompson. “It was a poorly executed slider that backed up, top of the zone. A guy with his kind of strength — anyone’s strength with that kind of pitch — is going to have a chance to hit it hard.”

Manager Bud Black called Freeland’s first four innings “terrific.”

“He threw the ball great and his mix of pitches was outstanding,” Black said. “He had all four pitches working. They didn’t have good swings.”

The fifth inning took a 180-degree turn.

“I think it was (about) location,” Black said. “As good as the location was through the first 13 guys, it got away from him.”

Freeland, clearly upset, could be seen throwing things in the Rockies’ dugout.  His final line: 5 2/3 innings, six hits, four runs, one walk and five strikeouts. His ERA rose from 4.31 to 4.43.

Asked about his emotions, Freeland replied: “It was pure frustration. I made one bad pitch and it snowballed on me. … The frustration is losing, that’s the frustration.”

The Rockies entered the game having hit a paltry 18 home runs on the road, the fewest in the majors. Worse, they had just eight homers in their past 26 road games.

They hit two Monday night, including a solo, opposite-field shot to right by C.J. Cron in the ninth off of right-hander Reyes Moronta. It was Cron’s 20th home run of the season, and his third in two games.

The homer set up some late-game drama, especially with Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel sideline after taking a comebacker in his back in Sunday’s game against the Padres.

Jose Iglesias singled and Elias Diaz walked. With two outs, Charlie Blackmon came up as a pinch hitter to face former Rockies right-hander Yency Almonte. Blackmon singled through the left side to score Iglesias, cutting L.A.’s lead to 5-3.

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