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Freeland matches Bumgarner through 7 in loss

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rockies believe their young starting pitchers, such as lefty Kyle Freeland, can pitch with anyone. Freeland did just that Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

Freeland matched Giants star lefty Madison Bumgarner for seven scoreless innings. However, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford homered to right field with one out in the bottom of the ninth off reliever Harrison Musgrave to send the Rockies to their fifth straight loss, 1-0.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rockies believe their young starting pitchers, such as lefty Kyle Freeland, can pitch with anyone. Freeland did just that Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

Freeland matched Giants star lefty Madison Bumgarner for seven scoreless innings. However, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford homered to right field with one out in the bottom of the ninth off reliever Harrison Musgrave to send the Rockies to their fifth straight loss, 1-0.

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The starting pitching is among the disappointments for the Rockies, who made the postseason last year, but are languishing at 38-42 this season. However, Freeland -- a Denver native in his second season -- has been a breath of consistency. Wednesday, Freeland gave the Rockies a chance, even though his slider, which at times is his best pitch, wasn't working.

"I'm very proud of myself, being able to recognize what's working, what's not working, and to be able to use those pitches to the best of my ability," said Freeland, who stuck with his four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball and changeup.

Video: COL@SF: Black on tough loss to Giants, Bumgarner

Freeland struck out four, held the Giants to four hits and a walk, and collected 13 ground-ball outs. It marked the fifth time he has gone seven innings, and he hasn't gone fewer than six in his last 12 starts. Alas, he wasn't rewarded because Bumgarner, in his fifth start since returning from a broken left pinky finger, held the Rockies to two hits and struck out eight.

"What a great matchup between two lefties -- one just starting his career and getting his feet on the ground, and Bumgarner, we know what he's done in his career," Rockies manager Bud Black said.

Freeland ended up being the Rockies' best chance for runs. After Carlos Gonzalez became the Rockies' first baserunner with a broken-bat double tapped past third base with two out in the fifth, Bumgarner issued his only two walks to load the bases. But Bumgarner came from a 2-1 count to strike out Freeland.

Video: COL@SF: CarGo doubles in 5th, breaks up perfect game

Freeland's most dicey inning was the sixth when first baseman Ian Desmond committed his second error of the game by not scooping a throw from shortstop Trevor Story to allow runners on first and third. But Freeland worked Crawford into a fly that third baseman Nolan Arenado handled.

Reliever Scott Oberg, in his return from a back injury, pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings with one walk. But it all ended when Musgrave, who replaced Oberg for a left-on-left matchup, left an 83 mph slider over the middle and watched Crawford send the Rockies to their second straight one-run defeat against the Giants.

"He's growing, too, as a pitcher … he just didn't execute the slider right there," Black said of Musgrave.

Video: COL@SF: Oberg retires Posey in 1st appearance off DL

Lefty batters were 5-for-30 with one homer off Musgrave, who began the year in the Triple-A Albuquerque starting rotation, before the Crawford winner. Musgrave has allowed at least one run in seven of his last 11 appearances, but more experienced pitchers Jake McGee and Chris Rusin haven't found consistency, and Mike Dunn also is coming off a back injury.

"It shows that Buddy trusts me; the last few times I haven't done as well as everybody would like, especially myself," Musgrave said.

HE SAID IT
"You've got to be as consistent as possible and give the team a chance to win every time you go out. That's been my mentality throughout the course of the season." -- Freeland on trying to keep the Rockies afloat through a rough stretch

UP NEXT

Righty Jon Gray (7-7, 5.52 ERA), coming off 12 strikeouts in seven innings in a win over the Marlins in his last start, will take on the Giants and righty Chris Stratton (8-5, 4.14) on Thursday afternoon at 1:45 p.m. MT in the three-game series finale. Gray had had a hard time with the Giants. In five career starts, he is 0-2 with a 5.24 ERA with 11 walks and 18 strikeouts.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Kyle Freeland