The Rockies offense finally showed up for Kyle Freeland.
Elias Díaz hit a grand slam and Sam Hilliard added a three-run homer and RBI double, C.J. Cron recorded three hits and three RBI, and Trevor Story hit two doubles, scored two runs, and drove in another as the Rockies bats were on fire in a 13-6 win over the Cubs on Tuesday night. Díaz scored three runs and came up just a triple shy of the cycle.
To put things in perspective, the Rockies had totaled four runs in Kyle Freeland’s last four starts combined. Thanks for Díaz’s first career grand slam, which also happens to be the seventh of the season for the Rockies, Freeland was pitching with a 4-1 lead after two innings. Another bright side of the plentiful offensive production was that Cubs fans were actually drowned out by Rockies fans at Coors Field.
Hits with runners on
Throughout the game, the Rockies didn’t waste offensive chances. In the second, Story doubled, Cron followed with a single, and Ryan McMahon walked to load the bases with no outs. When Díaz walked up to the plate, both Germán Márquez and Austin Gomber called Díaz’s shot from the dugout. They were right and Díaz got his 12th homer of the year.
The Rockies took advantage of runners again in the fourth when McMahon led off with a double, Díaz followed with a single that Jason Heyward couldn’t come up with despite a sliding effort, and then Hilliard stepped up to crush a three-run shot to right to make it 7-2.
More clutch hitting arrived in the sixth when Díaz and Hilliard led off with back-to-back doubles. Yonathan Daza reached after being hit by a pitch in the next at-bat and Raimel Tapia hit an RBI single. Two outs later, Story also reached after being hit by a pitch and Cron made the Cubs pay with a two-run single to increase the Rockies lead to 11-2.
The Rockies added two more runs in the eighth when Brendan Rodgers, who was 0-for-4, connected for a double to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Story drove him in with another RBI double and Cron brought home story with a single off the left field wall. The hits not only came at good times, but also came on solid contact and higher exit velocities, which could be a good sign for the rest of the home stand.
Freeland gets a win
For the first time since June 28, Freeland got a win. He posted a 2.40 ERA in 30 innings in five starts in July, but got four losses and one no decision. On Tuesday night, he gave up two runs on four hits in five innings with five strikeouts and no walks. The night started really well for Freeland as he struck out the side in the top of the first. In the second, Freeland gave up a single to Patrick Wisdom and a double to Frank Schwindel, which set up a sacrifice grounder from Heyward. Ian Happ hit a solo homer in the fourth to round out the damage against Freeland.
In the fifth, Andrew Romine hit a grounder toward Freeland and it hit him in the ankle. Freeland finished the play, but Romine was safe. After the throw, Freeland began limping and then went down to the ground. He was able to stay in the game and even got Johneshwy Fargas to ground into a double play to end the inning. He didn’t return for the sixth inning, but Bud Black seemed optimistic about Freeland not being seriously injured from the play.
“Kyle is sore, but we think he is going to be OK. X-rays are negative,” Black said. “There will probably be some soreness when he wakes up tomorrow. We won’t know about his next start until probably a couple days from now.”
After the game, Freeland said that he wanted to go back out in the sixth, but that Black took him out as a precaution. He feels like he “dodged a bullet” in not having any kind of fracture.
It’s all about the accessories
Días earned the MVP chain after the game for his incredibly productive night. Hilliard donned a different accessory after hitting his sixth homer of the year, which happens to be the fourth since July 23rd and the second homer in his last two games.
There is just no way around it: Hilliard is in the zone. That means he can wear whatever glasses he wants.
The Rockies and Cubs will be back in action on Wednesday at 6:40 p.m. when Jon Gray will pitch against Alec Mills.