Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Freeland twirls gem, 'pen makes it stand

Left-hander goes seven scoreless despite 32-minute in-game weather delay
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- The seven innings from Rockies lefty starter Kyle Freeland against the Pirates on Monday night were at times devastating, at times resourceful and, at any rate, scoreless. But after a rough road trip, the bullpen -- especially, finally, closer Wade Davis -- ensured the night ended happily.

After blowing three of their last four save chances, the bullpen prevailed. Seunghwan Oh pitched a perfect eighth and Davis rebounded from blown saves in his previous two outings as the Rockies took a 2-0 victory at Coors Field.

View Full Game Coverage

DENVER -- The seven innings from Rockies lefty starter Kyle Freeland against the Pirates on Monday night were at times devastating, at times resourceful and, at any rate, scoreless. But after a rough road trip, the bullpen -- especially, finally, closer Wade Davis -- ensured the night ended happily.

After blowing three of their last four save chances, the bullpen prevailed. Seunghwan Oh pitched a perfect eighth and Davis rebounded from blown saves in his previous two outings as the Rockies took a 2-0 victory at Coors Field.

View Full Game Coverage

"There are a lot of good things that happen in some of these bad outings, and you try to take those from it, and try to forget about the bad," Davis said. "I've always wanted to be at my best later in the season, and that's one thing I'm working toward."

Video: PIT@COL: Davis locks down his 32nd save of the year

The victory, in a game that included a 32-minute rain delay, began a seven-game homestand for the Rockies, who had gone 2-5 on a road trip to St. Louis and Milwaukee. Colorado began the night trailing the Dodgers and D-backs by two games in the National League West race, and was 2 1/2 games out of the second NL Wild Card spot. After the win, the Rockies are two games out of the second Wild Card spot, though their NL West standing will depend on the outcome of the D-backs' game.

Oh pitched a perfect eighth for his fifth straight scoreless outing since arriving in a trade with the Blue Jays before turning it over to Davis, who had blown saves in St. Louis on Thursday and Milwaukee on Friday -- both in walk-off fashion.

The second, when Davis' breaking pitches were sharp but the Brewers' Eric Thames hit a mislocated high fastball for a three-run homer and a 5-3 defeat, left Davis smarting from his sixth blown save and leaning on the positives. He wasn't used Sunday, when Adam Ottavino blew a three-run ninth inning lead but the Rockies ended up winning, 5-4, in 11 on Nolan Arenado's solo homer.

But Davis earned his 32nd save by fanning Gregory Polanco with the count full, forcing a David Freese bouncer to third base and catching Francisco Cervelli looking.

"For us to get where we want to be, it's going to take everybody," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "That bullpen tonight, it was Oh and Davis, but moving forward, it's going to take them all. It was good to see Wade bounce back, and Oh's been pretty steady through his five appearances."

Catcher Chris Iannetta, who drove in a run on a fifth-inning sacrifice fly, said of Davis, "He's a guy that's not going to let a couple of failures here and there, a couple things that didn't go his way, shape the rest of his season."

Video: PIT@COL: Iannetta drives in Story with sac fly in 5th

Freeland (10-7) held his opponent scoreless for the second time in three starts, and limited the Pirates to two hits while striking out five.

"I felt good from the start, from my bullpen all the way to the seventh inning, really," said Freeland, who lowered his Coors ERA to 2.18 in 10 starts. "I had command on my pitches and could throw them in any counts."

Freeland's biggest problems were three walks and a hit batsman. But after walking two in the fourth, he ended the threat by inducing an Elias Diaz pop foul.

In his seventh and final inning, Freeland hit Cervelli with one out, and walked Josh Harrison to end an 11-pitch tussle with two outs. But Freeland shook that off and coaxed Jordy Mercer to hit a liner to left.

Video: PIT@COL: Freeland gets a lineout to escape jam in 7th

"I thought the changeup to the catcher to get the third out of the [fourth inning], that was one of the biggest pitches of the game," Black said. "The at-bat late, that Mercer lined to left, that was a huge at-bat, obviously. But I thought Kyle pitched."

Pirates starter Joe Musgrove (4-6) was almost as effective as Freeland, save for the rain-delayed fifth. Arenado and Trevor Story singled, and Arenado scored when Pirates second baseman Harrison fumbled Gerardo Parra's grounder.

Video: PIT@COL: Arenado scores from third on fielding error

Musgrove hit Ian Desmond to load the bases when play resumed and Iannetta delivered a sacrifice fly to left for a 2-0 lead.

THE REAL DAHL
Black rested center fielder Charlie Blackmon after a 3-for-31 road trip, and Dahl -- batting leadoff -- responded with a single and a double.

Black instructed Dahl to stay with his aggressive approach, rather than modify to hit in the top spot. Dahl obliged.

"I led off in the Minor Leagues a lot, especially lower, and I never really change my approach, but having [Bud] say that definitely helps," Dahl said. "It helped me be laid-back up there, [having my manager] tell me to keep my approach."

LEAVING RUNS ON THE TABLE
Poor execution stopped the Rockies from scoring more than two runs in the fifth.

Instead of tagging and taking third against Pirates left fielder Corey Dickerson, who was moving left and isn't known for his throwing, Parra went halfway and couldn't advance. Then the runners couldn't move because Freeland popped up his bunt. Parra tried going home when Dahl singled to right field for one of his two hits, but Polanco's throw easily beat Parra to the plate.

Video: PIT@COL: Polanco nabs Parra with strong throw home

All Freeland did in response was throw a spotless sixth.

"Pitcher's job is to get the other team retired. You can't let the offensive side of the ball affect your pitching," Freeland said. "That's pretty standard. I got no problem with any of our pitchers in that regard and where their focus is."

HE SAID IT
"I've heard a lot of stories about Coors Field. Everyone in Korea knows about the field situation. A lot of Koreans are actually worried about me. But I just go out there and do my thing, make pitches, try not to think about it too much." -- Oh, through his translator Eugene Koo, on the altitude factor at Coors Field and how it affects -- or doesn't affect -- his pitches

SOUND SMART
The Rockies shut out their opponent for the seventh time this season and their fourth at Coors Field. And they won their fifth consecutive home game in which they allowed two or fewer runs -- tied for their longest streak in franchise history. The other time was July 30-Aug. 11, 2006.

UP NEXT
It's funny how things work out. Last year, Rockies righty Chad Bettis and Pirates righty Jameson Taillon each went through testicular cancer battles. This year, they both had blister issues on their right middle fingers. On Tuesday, Bettis (5-1, 5.10 ERA), finally recovered from his blister, pitches in the Majors for the first time since July 1 against the Pirates -- and Taillon (8-8, 3.74) -- at Coors Field at 6:40 p.m. MT.

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