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Mariners 2, Rockies 1: Freeland strong, but Seattle tops bullpen

Tapia extends hit steak to 18 games

At least this one was close.

Kyle Freeland pitched great and through 4 ½ innings, there was no score in the game. When the Mariners took a 1-0 lead, it only lasted one inning before C.J. Cron hit a solo homer to tie it up. The tie was fleeting as Shed Long, Jr. hit what turned out to be the game-winning homer off Tyler Kinley in the bottom of the eighth to end a road game with a familiar storyline: not enough offense for the Rockies and another loss to drop the Rockies to 5-28 away from Coors Field this season.

Welcome back Kyle Freeland. We missed you.

For the first time in a long time, Kyle Freeland pitched like it was 2018. He recorded a season-high six innings and 92 pitches, striking out seven, and giving up one run on five hits with only one walk. The first inning turned out to be a sign of things to come as J.P. Crawford struck out swinging on an 80-mph curveball that was low and away. Mitch Haniger then went down swinging on another low-and-away pitch, but this time an 87.5-mph slider.

Through four innings, Freeland had only surrendered one hit, a double by Jake Bauers, that resulted in no harm done in the second. In the fourth, Freeland issued his only walk of the night with a free pass to Kyle Seager. Dom Nuñez erased him from the basepaths moments later when he caught Seager trying to steal second.

In the fifth, Freeland got in his only jam of the night after giving up three straight one-out singles. He then sent Long, Jr. back to the dugout with a strikeout on an 88-mph slider for the second out. Freeland then worked Crawford to a full count, including his fastest pitch of the night – a 95-mph four-seam fastball — before Crawford hit an infield single. Despite shortstop Brendon Rodgers’ best efforts, Crawford was safe at first and former Rockie Tom Murphy put the Mariners up 1-0. Seconds later, the Rockies picked off Dylan Moore, who overran third base to limit the damage to one run.

“Overall, I thought Kyle threw the ball well. I thought his stuff was solid,” Manager Bud Black said in the postgame press conference. “I thought he had a good breaking ball tonight. That was something that had been a little different from the previous starts. His slider was used frequently today and he got some strikeouts with it. The fastball had good movement. He didn’t get to his changeup a lot, but I think it was about the fastball and the slider tonight.”

Freeland entered the game with a 9.58 ERA and by the end of the night, he reduced it to 7.76. This is by far the best and longest start of the season for Freeland and hopefully a big step in the right direction for his pitch location and confidence. That is all considering the MLB implementing their new rules of having umpires inspect Freeland to make sure he wasn’t hiding the sticky stuff.

Stayin’ alive

When the Rockies only had one hit through five innings, and Raimel Tapia had gone 0-for-2, it wasn’t looking good for Tapia’s 17-game hitting streak. However, Tapia kept it alive in the sixth inning when he got a single over shortstop J.P. Crawford’s head to stretch the streak to 18 games. He also drew a walk, which was one of three the Rockies collected on the night. Unfortunately, Yonathan Daza’s nine-game hitting streak came to an end when he went 0-for-4 with one strikeout.

Limited offense

Brendon Rodgers had a good night, connecting for the first Colorado hit of the night in the fifth inning and also hit a triple in the seventh. Both times he was stranded on base. C.J. Cron was the lone Rockie to cross the plate after hitting a solo shot – a 402-foot blast to center field – in the seventh.

Add in Tapia’s single, and those four hits accounted for all the offense for the Rockies. Trevor Story struggled at the plate, striking out three times while the Rockies totaled eight strikeouts as a team.

Up next

The Rockies will conclude their series in Seattle with a day game on Wednesday. Germán Márquez (5-6, 4.26 ERA) will face off against Justus Sheffield (5-6, 5.65 ERA) with the first pitch slated for 2:10 p.m. Justus Sheffield is the brother of Rockie pitcher Jordan Sheffield, who Is currently on the 60-day IL with a right lat strain.