DENVER -- Rockies rookie left-handed pitcher Kyle Freeland had no problem showing his feelings during a near-no-hitter in Sunday afternoon's 10-0 victory over the White Sox at Coors Field.Freeland gave a from-the-diaphragm scream to celebrate Tim Anderson's popup to end the seventh. He commemorated left fielder Gerardo Parra's diving catch
DENVER -- Rockies rookie left-handed pitcher Kyle Freeland had no problem showing his feelings during a near-no-hitter in Sunday afternoon's 10-0 victory over the White Sox at Coors Field.
Freeland gave a from-the-diaphragm scream to celebrate Tim Anderson's popup to end the seventh. He commemorated left fielder Gerardo Parra's diving catch of Yolmer Sanchez's liner to open the eighth with a two-fisted salute, then a finger point, and finally a tip of the cap.
Until Melky Cabrera fought off an inside fastball for a single with one out in the ninth and Freeland left after 8 1/3 innings and a career-high 126 pitches, emotion darn near carried him to the first home no-hitter -- second overall -- in Rockies history.
"That's what kept me going those last two or three innings, adrenaline," said Freeland, 24, who grew up in Denver, went to Thomas Jefferson High School and was the team's top pick in the 2014 MLB Draft out of the University of Evansville. "It was fun."
When you're a lefty with solid velocity and willingness to attack right-handed hitters inside with a fastball as well as a slider-cutter, a little nastiness from the soul can help.
"Today was a great combination of loose and aggressive, but also having that passion and that energy and emotion that goes with it," catcher Ryan Hanigan said. "He used that in a good way."
When last seen, Freeland's excitability was not as welcome. During the third inning of his last start, when he yielded five runs and eight hits in an 8-1 home loss to the Reds, some early bad luck didn't sit well with him and he let off his own fireworks well before the Fourth of July postgame celebration.
After a third-inning single, manager Bud Black demanded a mound visit. Then Black shooed away the rest of the infielders. And catcher Tony Wolters. Black let Freeland have it. Plate umpire Bill Miller walked toward the mound but stopped short when he saw the Black needed time to finish his emphatic statement.
"I was in a rut and he knew I was in a rut," said Freeland, who was 0-3 with a 7.27 ERA in three starts before Sunday. "And it motivated me. I said, 'You've got the manager on you right now, so it's time to really grind and make a change.'"
Even when Freeland showed emotion Sunday -- such as when he didn't get a call from umpire Greg Gibson and ended up walking Sanchez to open the sixth inning -- he was in control. Freeland walked two to open the seventh, but forced an Avisail Garcia double-play grounder, then the popup by Anderson.
"Kyle pitches with a lot of emotion, you don't see it sometimes, but this guy's got a fire within him, which is great, which we love," Black said.
With the Rockies in the second National League Wild Card position going into the All-Star break, Sunday's situation was an early test of big-game mettle. The Rockies hadn't won a series in nearly four weeks.
"Just having him pitch like that, no-hitter or not," Hanigan said, "it was huge for us going forward."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.