The Rockies and Phillies played a back-and-forth game that saw the lead change four times, but it was Colorado that eventually prevailed after C.J. Cron’s heroics once again lifted them to victory.
Freeland’s best work yet
Kyle Freeland has not yet had his best stuff on the mound this season, but Tuesday’s outing was a step in the right direction. He battled traffic throughout his start to throw five innings and allow two earned runs by way of two hits and one walk while striking out three. The first inning looked as though he may be in for a tough night after a Rhys Hoskins triple and a Bryce Harper knock put the Phillies up 1-0, but he buckled down and allowed no more runs until the fourth frame. In that instance, Philadelphia took advantage with two outs, as a walk-single-single relay doubled their lead.
Even while battling command (and, at times, home plate umpire Paul Emmel), this was Freeland’s most effective start of the season by far. Hopefully this starts a positive upward trend for the newly-extended starter.
Kyle Freeland— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) April 20, 2022
5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K pic.twitter.com/aRtaaEwtZW
Fourth inning outburst
Kyle Gibson absolutely cruised through the first third of the game, not allowing a base runner until a two-out single by José Iglesias in the third inning. One time around the batting order seemed to give the Rockies hitters a decent look, as they changed their approach in the fourth frame to great effect.
Singles by Charlie Blackmon and Kris Bryant started things off, and a C.J. Cron sacrifice fly scored “Chuck Nazty” from third base to make it 2-1. A Ryan McMahon walk preceded a Brendan Rodgers groundout that seemed like a sure-thing double play off the bat, but Philadelphia third baseman Alec Bohm’s throw to second pulled Jean Segura off the bag for a fielder’s choice instead. Now with two men on and one out, Randal Grichuk’s base hit up the middle tied the game at 2 before Elías Díaz rolled one into center field to give Colorado a 3-2 lead.
Grichuk Díaz— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) April 20, 2022
Rockies lead 3-2! pic.twitter.com/GzeDgw3xXL
Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived. In the sixth inning, Ty Blach entered in relief of Kyle Freeland. Blach, like most of the Rockies’ bullpen arms, had been consistently excellent to open the season. It only took four pitches for things to go awry, though, as a JT Realmuto single and Kyle Schwarber homer (which really looked like a fly out off the bat) flipped the game on its head to give Philadelphia’s lead right back at 4-3.
Gibson would then shut the Rockies down in order in the bottom of the frame, and Rockies fans everywhere wondered if this might be a tough, late loss...
We all live in the Cron Zone
Following the seventh inning stretch, Iglesias and Connor Joe made two quick outs to once again put Gibson in the driver’s seat. Blackmon wouldn’t go down so easy, however, as he worked a walk and moved to second on an infield hit from Kris Bryant. Into the game came reliever Jeurys Familia, who hung a 2-2 slider to “Cron-saw” himself and watched the Rockies take the lead back on a three-run home run to left field.
CRON. CLUTCH. CRUSHED.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) April 20, 2022
We're back on pic.twitter.com/hdPoNZFywo
Cron, now sitting on six home runs to go along with his .326 batting average, is off to a stellar start this season.
The Rockies bullpen bent a bit - Alex Colomé allowed a run before Daniel Bard closed it out for his National League-leading fifth save - but didn’t break, and they shut the Phillies down once and for all to end the game and improve Colorado’s record to 8-3 on the young season.
The Rockies finish up their series with Philadelphia and look for the three-game sweep when Germán Márquez (0-0, 3.97 ERA) duels Zach Eflin (0-1, 4.50 ERA). The Phillies have hit Márquez hard in the past - he’ll try to remedy this on Wednesday afternoon.
First pitch is at 1:10 MDT. See you then!