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.
But Almonte struck out Connor Joe to end the game.
Earlier, Iglesias put a dent in the Rockies’ troubling road trend, leading off the fifth with a solo homer to left off Los Angeles lefty Julio Urias to give Colorado a brief 1-0 lead. It was a little bit of déjà vu for Iglesias, who hit his first home run of the season last Monday against Dodgers lefty Tyler Anderson at Coors Field. Iglesias snapped a career-long streak of 262 homerless at-bats dating back to Sept. 13, 2021.
But Iglesias’ homer was the high-water mark for the Rockies against Urias. They went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position against him. The Dodgers’ lefty improved to 7-6 and trimmed his ERA to 2.57 with his six-inning, one-run, five-hit, seven-strikeout performance.
The Dodgers tacked on another run in the seventh against right-hander Jhoulys Chacin. Cody Bellinger drew a leadoff walk to set the table for Trea Turner’s RBI double.
Rockies RHP German Marquez (4-6, 5.89 ERA) at Dodgers RHP Mitch White (1-1, 3.93)
8:10 p.m. Tuesday, Dodger Stadium
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM
Marquez’s last start was cut short by a cut on his right thumb that limited him to 3 1/3 innings. Unable to command his fastball, he gave up five runs on five hits against the Dodgers, who beat the Rockies, 8-4, at Coors Field. Marquez has endured a disappointing season, though he has pitched at least six innings in seven of his last 10 starts. He is 2-2 with a 3.36 ERA in 13 career starts against the Dodgers, with the Rockies going 7-6.
White was recalled from Triple-A last Saturday and this season has made two starts in place of the injured Andrew Heaney. White pitched 4 2/3 innings against San Diego on Thursday, allowing one run on six hits and one walk while striking out three. He did not factor in the decision. He is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA and eight strikeouts in three games against the Rockies.
Trending: Entering Monday, Colorado was 12-5 against the National League West over its last 17 games, having won seven in a row prior to last Wednesday’s loss to the Dodgers.
At issue: The Rockies entered Monday night’s game having hit just 18 home runs on the road, the fewest in the majors. They had hit just eight home runs in their past 26 road games since May 6.
Wednesday: Rockies RHP José Ureña (0-0, 3.52) at Dodgers RHP Tony Gonsolin (10-0, 1.54), 8:10 p.m., ATTRM
Thursday: Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (6-7, 6.53) at Diamondbacks LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-6, 8.27), 7:40 p.m., ATTRM
Friday: Rockies RHP Chad Kuhl (5-5, 3.83) at Diamondbacks Zac Gallen (4-2, 3.40), 7:40 p.m., ATTRM