Well that is one hell of a way to wrap up the first half. Kyle Freeland nearly pitched a dang no-hitter and the Rockies scored 10 runs to wrap up the best first half in team history. Freeland had a no-hitter entering the ninth inning. While he retired the first batter, Melky Cabrera muscled a liner into left field to break it up. At that point, Freeland had a season high 126 pitches. Bud Black grabbed him and inserted Jordan Lyles to finish up the game and the first half.
After spending so much time down in the dumps over the past three weeks, the Rockies played a game today where everything worked. Pat Valaika had five RBIs. Charlie Blackmon hit the longest Rockies home run of the year. Gerardo Parra had three hits. The pitching was excellent and everyone everyone in the lineup reached base, including the pitcher.
About that pitcher. Freeland had everything working today. His fastball had movement. Batters had a hard time handling it. His slider had bite, too. Batters had a hard time even hitting that one. It all worked for him. He struck out nine batters on the day, all of them were swinging. There was a blemish in the fourth inning when Freeland hit José Abreu with an inside pitch. He walked Abreu again in the seventh. Another came in the sixth when he walked Omar Narvaez to lead off the inning. But that was it. The 81⁄3 innings wherein he gave up a hit, walked three, and struck out nine was by far the best start in the Denver native’s young career.
Freeland’s counterpart, Carlos Rodón, was also sharp for much of the day. He only allowed three hits in the first five innings, but the Rockies were able to tally a couple runs with those hits. In the second, Mark Reynolds walked and Gerardo Parra doubled, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Pat Valaika brought Reynolds home with a groundout to second base. Parra advanced to third, and in the subsequent at bat he drifted far off of the bag. Catcher Omar Narvaez attempted to pick him off of first base, but the throw ended up bouncing to shallow left field, which allowed Parra to score and make it 2-0.
The Rockies really got to Rodón in the sixth. Charlie Blackmon led off the inning with a long home run to center field.
this ball still hasn't landed btw... pic.twitter.com/Xj0l7lp4vH— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 9, 2017
That made it 3-0 in favor of the Rockies. D.J. LeMahieu then walked and was replaced on the base paths by Alexi Amarista. Nolan Arenado lined out. Reynolds walked after that to put two runners on, and Gerardo Parra singled to right field to drive in Amarista and make it 4-0.
That drove Rodón from the game. Chris Beck replaced him to face Pat Valaika. Valaika then broke the game wide open with a three-run homer to left field, making it 7-0 Rockies. Carlos González and Ryan Hanigan added singles and Blackmon walked to load the bases, but Amarista couldn’t get a hit to continue the barrage. In all, it was a 26 minute half-inning.
The Rockies added more on in the eighth inning. Arenado led off with a walk and Reynolds followed that with a single. Parra drove Arenado in with a single of his own to make it 8-0 Rockies. Valaika then knocked Reynolds in with a single to make it 9-0. And then, to put a bow on it all, Freeland knocked in the Rockies tenth run of the day with a single.
And that’s a wrap for the first half. It couldn’t have started better, and while it ended pretty well, I can think of one way it could have been just a little bit better.