It was a rematch of the Colorado Rockies home opener with Kyle Freeland — this time in his third MLB start — taking Hyun-Jin Ryu, making his 60th career start. Freeland left the game first and was a bit wild and nibbling around the edges of the strike zone. But Ryu probably wished he had done the same, at least in certain situations as the Rockies got to him for four runs. The Rockies league-best bullpen did what it has done all season, slamming the door shut — though with some theatrics in the ninth — earning a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Rockies became the first team (by a matter of minutes) in MLB to reach double-digit wins.
Charlie Blackmon with a lead-off contact-and-hustle double, poking a tough pitch away from him down the third base line and running hard into second. Two batters later, Nolan Arenado deposited the second pitch he saw over the left-field fence, adding yet another pair of go-ahead RBI to his increasingly clutch resume. They were the ninth and 10th runs Arenado has driven in this season, all of which (to that point) had either tied the game or put the Rockies ahead.
In the top of the fourth, the Rockies added a third run on a solo shot from Trevor Story, his second home run of the year. He absolutely hammered a fastball, sending it 427 feet at a speed of 107 mph off the bat.
The Dodgers got one back in the bottom of the fourth with the help of some fortunate bounces of the baseball. Freeland walked Enrique Hernandez and looked like he got Adrian Gonzalez to ground into the inning-ending double play but it took a big hop over first and ended up as a single. Then Freeland got Joc Pederson to hit a weak, off-balance ground to third base but Arenado was positioned away from the line and a barehanded effort couldn’t beat Pederson at first and the run came in to score.
Ryu jumped on a first-pitch fastball and put a scare into the Rockies rookie pitcher — not to mention, their fans — by loading the bases for Scott Van Slyke. But Freeland got the Dodgers outfielder to ground out in routine fashion to third, limiting the damage to one run to make it 3-1, Rockies.
Arenado got the run immediately back in the fifth, hammering his second home run of the game and sixth of the season, to give the Rox a three-run lead. He also tied a Rockies franchise record later in the game with a double giving him 10 total bases in the game. He is the first Rockie since Troy Tulowitzki to have that many bases at Dodger Stadium.
Freeland’s wildness got the better of him in the bottom of the fifth though, walking Corey Seager and hitting Justin Turner to lead off the inning before having to be pulled in favor of Scott Oberg. Oberg struck out Yasiel Puig and got Hernandez to pop out, both on high fastballs. Chris Rusin came on for Oberg
Chris Rusin came on for Oberg and got Gonzalez to ground out, keeping the lead at three runs. This was a great bit of managing from Bud Black who recognized a rookie starter had given all he could against the defending NL West champions and stacked his middle relievers in the perfect position to succeed.
Freeland’s final line: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K.
Not an ideal outing, but an acceptable effort from a rookie against a good lineup on the road. He managed to keep runs off the board, and ultimately that’s what matters the most.
Rusin stayed through the sixth, pitching a clean inning with a strikeout.
Adam Ottavino came on to work the seventh and worked around a pair of singled with a pair of strikeouts, earning his seventh hold of the year. Otto threw some of his best sliders of the season in this inning, including this craziness to Justin Turner:
— Jake Shapiro (@Shapalicious) April 19, 2017
Mike Dunn pitched the eighth and did not allow a base runner, lowering his already minuscule WHIP. He still has not allowed a run in 2017. Heck, he has allowed just one hit.
Greg Holland remains perfect in converting save opportunities, locking down his eighth giving up his first runs of 2017. He walked Chase Utley to lead off the inning then got a groundout from Andrew Toles. Corey Seager appeared to have popped out to shallow left on a sliding catch from Gerardo Parra, but a review showed he trapped the ball and the Dodgers had a pair of runners with one out.
Holland made another good pitch where he beat the hitter, Turner, but he squibbed a single to right to make it 4-2 Dodgers. Puig put a scare into Rockies fans in the next at-bat with a deep fly to right feel, but it ultimately fell harmlessly into Parra’s glove for the second out. Yasmani Grandal took a 1-2 pitch out away from him and just barely poked a weak single to left, scoring another to make it 4-3.
But Holland got Adrian Gonzalez to ground out to short. Took a deep breath. And could say to himself; 8-for-8.
The Rockies moved to 10-5 and are tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place. Again, it was the pitching and defense that got it done, though Arenado and Story brought just enough fireworks to send Rockies fans home happy.