The Rockies are now below .500, but it feels much worse. Kyle Freeland kept up his solid 2020 campaign, but the Colorado offense was absent again, going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and totaling only four hits. Despite all that, the Rockies actually led 3-2 briefly in the seventh inning before the Dodgers tied it up in the bottom of the frame. Since the Rockies couldn’t, the Dodgers supplied the clutch hitting with Cody Bellinger hitting a walk-off solo homer on Daniel Bard’s second pitch in the bottom of the ninth. The Rockies have now lost six in a row and nine of their last 11.
After the game, Bud Black talked about how badly the Rockies need clutch plays: “We have talked about it a lot the last 10 days or so. A lot of times we are not getting that critical pitch made or that big hit that can give us some momentum. But that’s baseball and that happens,” Black said. “We gotta get there. We gotta get there soon. We gotta get that big hit, that momentum-changing base hit. That momentum-changing inning. That’s what’s gotta happen.”
Quality Control for Freeland
In another quality start, one that put him in the Rockies record book as only the second pitcher in team history to start a season with at least six consecutive quality starts, Freeland went six solid innings. He gave up an odd run in the first after walking Mookie Betts, who then later scored after Corey Seager got in a pickle after hitting a single. He gave up a Chris Taylor solo homer in the second, but then Freeland got in zone. For the next four innings, Freeland didn’t give up a hit and only surrendered one walk. He also totaled six strikeouts, including Betts twice, once looking and once swinging.
Freeland got in jam in the seventh when he hit Justin Turner to start the inning. A.J. Pollock then doubled to put runners on first and second with no outs. Freeland walked Bellinger to load the bases, and was then pulled from the game. Yency Almonte entered and got Chris Taylor to ground into a double play, but Turner scored to tie the game at three. Almonte then walked two Dodgers to load the bases again before striking out Austin Barnes to limit the damage.
The Rockies were able to get a runner to third in four different times, but never got the big rally going to generate runs. Two of those runners did score, including when Story reached second on an error, was moved over by Charlie Blackmon, and then scored on a sac fly by Nolan Arenado. In the seventh, Ryan McMahon scored after drawing a leadoff walk and eventually scoring on a wild pitch to put the Rockies up 3-2. Story started the best scoring opportunity with a leadoff double. He was then moved over by a Blackmon grounder, but then Max Muncy knocked down an Arenado line drive and Story ended up getting thrown out after being caught in a pickle. Arenado snuck to second, but was then stranded there. Raimel Tapia and Sam Hilliard both started innings with walks, then each stole second, both were advanced to third, but where both stranded when Arenado grounded out and Tapia struck out, respectively. In the ninth, McMahon reached on an error with no outs, but he was left at first base.
Hilliard Goes Yard
In the top of the third, Hilliard cut L.A.’s lead in half at 2-1 after crushing a solo shot to right field that sailed 431 feet. It was his second homer of the year and he also recorded his second stolen base of the season.
Estévez Great, Bard Suffers First Loss
Carlos Estévez had an impressive eighth inning, which was his first action since getting hit in the hand on a comebacker against the Rangers on Aug. 16. After getting Betts to fly out, Estévez walked Turner, but struck out Corey Seager and Joc Pederson to post a scoreless frame. With the Rockies hoping to go to extra innings, Bard entered the game, which honestly seemed like the best guy out of the bullpen for the job, but Bellinger’s homer to right went a few feet over the outstretched glove of Hilliard and into the bleachers.
The Rockies and Dodgers will conclude their series on Sunday at 2:10 p.m. when Antonio Senzatela will start for Colorado and Ross Stripling will be on the mound for L.A.