DENVER -- The beat went on for Rockies rookie starting pitchers, as left-hander Kyle Freeland followed Antonio Senzatela's lead from Tuesday night in a strong performance against the Indians on Wednesday. The 24-year-old Denver native tossed 6 1/3 innings, giving up one run in Colorado's 8-1 victory over Cleveland at Coors Field.
Freeland's gem was backed by two-run doubles from Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, as well as an Arenado RBI triple off the wall in right-center in the sixth. Ian Desmond singled home a run in the eighth.
Overall, Freeland scattered six hits, walked none and struck out five on 100 pitches. It was his first career start in which he did not issue a free pass. Rockies rookie starters have posted a 3.61 ERA in 209 2/3 innings this season.
"I thought today, more than in his other starts -- and he's had some good ones -- but the ball was down," Rockies manager Bud Black said of Freeland. "A lot of strike ones, and he was the aggressor."
Indians starter Trevor Bauer, who struck out a career-high 14 batters while issuing one walk against the A's on May 30, battled control issues against the Rockies. The right-hander walked five over 3 1/3 innings, yielding four runs on five hits and striking out three.
Cleveland's lone run came on a Jose Ramirez solo homer to right-center off Freeland in the seventh, Ramirez's eighth of the season. Over the two-game set, the Indians were outscored, 19-4, by the Rockies.
"They took it to us twice," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "This team is too good [to be playing this way]. We're not showing it right now. We're going to. One way or another, we're going to. We're not putting ourselves in a position [to succeed]. It's like we have to hope some nights. We need to go out and play the baseball we know how to play and dictate the pace of the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Arenado to the rescue: The Rockies put runners at first and second with nobody out in the third, but a Freeland sacrifice bunt attempt resulted in a forceout at third. That was followed by a Blackmon walk to load the bases and a forceout at home on a DJ LeMahieu ground ball. But Arenado salvaged the inning for Colorado with a two-run double to right-center to plate the only runs Rockies pitching would need.
Grounding Edwing: Following Ramirez's solo homer in the seventh, the Indians put runners at second and third with two outs, and pinch-hitter Edwin Encarnacion came to the plate against Rockies reliever Chris Rusin. On a 1-1 pitch, Rusin got Encarnacion to dribble a changeup in front of the plate, where Rusin gloved it and got the out at first to end the threat.
• Tribe hoping to find footing, consistency
"That was huge," Black said. "One swing of the bat there, and they're back in the game."
"There's other teams. They don't care what we did last year. They don't care what we were picked in the preseason, or what people think of us now, or what the experts are still talking about. We have to go out there and win games, and we're not doing it as often as we think we should right now. And, if we want people to change their opinion on that, we've got to go out there and do it." -- Indians reliever Andrew Miller
"With rookies like us, we're hungry, coming up from the Minor Leagues, this is our first time on the big league stage. And we're hungry to get wins." -- Freeland, on the success of Rockies' rookie starting pitchers
CARGO'S FOUL FLY
Carlos Gonzalez crushed a foul ball into the third deck during a fifth-inning at-bat against Indians reliever Nicholas Goody. According to Statcast™, the ball left his bat with an exit velocity of 113.3 mph and traveled a projected 480 feet, and it was caught by a fan in a section of Coors Field called "The Rooftop."
Francisco Lindor led off the fourth inning with a double down the left field line. He tried to tag to third on a fly ball to left-center by Michael Brantley, but center fielder Blackmon threw him out at third. Initially, Lindor was ruled safe with a head-first slide into the bag. But upon review, it was determined that Arenado, who caught Blackmon's throw on the fly, tagged Lindor's feet as he slid by with a dive of his own.
"I thought it was really good baserunning -- I really did," Francona said. "He was out. It didn't look like he was going to tag at first. He went back and tagged, and it's hard for me to second-guess that when I was glad he did what he did. I thought it was good baseball."
Indians: Following a team off-day on Thursday, the Indians will host the White Sox in the opener of a three-game weekend set at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday at Progressive Field. Watch live on MLB.TV or stream blackout-free on Facebook. Corey Kluber (4-2, 4.36 ERA), who struck out 10 in six shutout innings in his last start on June 1, will take the mound for the Tribe.
Rockies: The Rockies head to Chicago to open a four-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Thursday at 6:05 p.m. MT on MLB.TV. Right-hander Tyler Chatwood (5-7, 4.60 ERA) -- coming off an eight-inning, one-run performance at San Diego in his last start -- will take the mound for Colorado. Left-hander Jonathan Lester is slated to start for the Cubs.
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