Kyle Freeland’s blister wasn’t the problem on Saturday. Blame this one on the bullpen.
A sellout crowd of 48,245 at Coors Field — and mostly of Dodgers fans — witnessed a predictable 9-2 Rockies defeat. Los Angeles scored six runs over the final three innings after Freeland had kept the Rockies in it through six. And their offense failed to produce when it mattered.
The Rockies (40-53) will aim to avoid a series sweep on Sunday. Colorado is 1-8 against the Dodgers this season.
Freeland, originally scheduled to pitch on Sunday, was bumped up one day when Antonio Senzatela went on the injured list due to MLB COVID-19 protocols. It also marked Freeland’s first appearance since leaving a July 9 start early with a blister on the southpaw’s left middle finger.
On Saturday night, the Dodgers earned a first-inning advantage when Max Muncy’s RBI single scored leadoff man Mookie Betts. Colorado responded against Los Angeles starter Walker Buehler in the second — loading the bases with a Ryan McMahon walk, a Sam Hilliard double, and a Dom Nunez walk. Freeland’s sacrifice fly tied the game.
Both teams added one run in the third. Betts cranked a 415-foot solo homer and Ryan McMahon ripped an RBI double scoring Brendan Rodgers.
The stalemate lingered into the sixth when Los Angeles broke things open. A Betts leadoff double was rewarded with another Muncy RBI single, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead.
That ended Freeland’s night with three earned runs on six hits. He issued four walks and four strikeouts in a solid, but not stellar, six-inning performance. The bullpen did Freeland zero favors.
Colorado brought out Mychal Givens in the seventh and his first pitch to A.J. Pollock was launched for a 424-foot home run. In the eighth, Muncy lit up Colorado reliever Carlos Estevez for another L.A. solo homer. Things got worse in the ninth.
Tyler Kinley gave up a two-run double to Justin Turner for a 7-2 Dodgers’ lead. Then Muncy jacked L.A.’s fourth homer of the game, a two-run shot to center, for a 9-2 advantage.
There were two outfield communication issues on Saturday between Garrett Hampson and Charlie Blackmon that led to hits. An Albert Pujols single dropped into right when both players pulled up to make the catch. Hampson and Blackmon later collided in deep center chasing a Betts double — with the baseball dropping from Hampson’s glove after impact. But neither mishap led to runs scored.
Rockies’ bench coach Mike Redmond filled in for manager Bud Black (COVID contact tracing protocols) for a second consecutive game. Betts left in the seventh inning with a “right-hip irritation” and did not return.
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