Rockies continue recent domination of Padres at Coors Field with series-clinching 8-5 win
For a Colorado club struggling to get back to .500, having San Diego in town proved to be a much-needed elixir.
The Rockies beat the Padres 8-5 in Thursday’s matinee at Coors Field to win the four-game series. The bullpen stepped up big and the offense kept answering the bell as everyone in the lineup reached base. Colorado racked up a season-high nine walks.
“That was a huge (win),” starting pitcher Kyle Freeland said. “Hats off to our offense and our bullpen for picking me up, and doing their job… (The bullpen) did work and the offense never stopped. Even when I would give up the lead, they’d come back in the dugout and get right back to it.”
With the victory, Colorado improved to 13-3 at home against the Padres since the start of last season. The Rockies also picked up a gust of momentum heading into the final series of the first half, against the Pirates this weekend in LoDo.
The fireworks started in the second when Rockies’ all-star C.J. Cron led off with a double. Padres southpaw Blake Snell then proceeded to lose his command, issuing three walks in the inning. Colorado took advantage with Randal Grichuk’s softly hit two-RBI double down the right field line and Connor Joe’s sacrifice fly to go up 3-0.
But Freeland gave two runs right back in the third, when early traffic resulted in a pair of sacrifice flies to make it 3-2.
Back-and-forth the teams proceeded to go. Colorado (41-49, fourth in NL West) scored two more runs in the fourth as Snell pitched himself out of the game with three more free passes, two of which walked in a run. By the time reliever Tayler Scott came in to stop the bleeding, Colorado was up 5-2.
“The biggest factor offensively for what we did today is we had a lot of really, good (disciplined) at-bats,” manager Bud Black said. “We didn’t chase, we took the walks, we had a plan.”
San Diego stormed back in the fifth, however, and wrecked Freeland’s line. Trent Grisham led off with a solo home run to right-center. Three more hits plated two more runs to even the game 5-5.
Freeland was enraged after the inning ended, and used a bat to destroy a light on the ceiling of the dugout.
“I just didn’t like where that light was in the dugout,” Freeland said of the outburst. “It didn’t look good.”
The Thomas Jefferson product said he “was trying to be too fine” with his approach when the Padres scored in the third and again in the fifth.
“It’s obviously a solid lineup they have, but that’s not my game of trying to be fine with pitches,” Freeland said. “My game is being in the zone, attacking, getting ahead and getting weak contact.”
Freeland’s teammates picked him up in the sixth inning by finding a rhythm against San Diego right-hander Nabil Crismatt. Connor Joe got Colorado going with a one-out walk. That was followed by Jose Iglesias’ RBI double, Cron’s RBI single and Grichuk’s RBI double to make it 8-5.
The Colorado bullpen did the rest from there. Veteran right-hander Jhoulys Chacin posted two scoreless innings, then rookie right-hander Jake Bird matched that feat. Right-hander Carlos Estevez shut the door with his first save of the year in a 1-2-3 ninth.
Thursday’s victory marked the third straight against San Diego, which won the series opener on Monday to snap a 10-game losing streak to the Rockies in LoDo.