Major League Baseball

Rockies looking for 4-game sweep as they host D-backs

mlb3DIAMONDBACKS (29-28) AT ROCKIES (27-27)
3:10 p.m. ET; FS-A, MLB.TV

Rolling Colorado will send scuffling left-hander Kyle Freeland to the mound in search of a four-game series sweep against Arizona when the teams meet Thursday afternoon at Coors Field.

The Rockies have won four in a row and seven of nine, and with a 5-4 victory Wednesday reached .500 or the first time since March 31, the fourth game of the season. They are 5-1 on their season-long 10-game homestead, with three walkoff victories.

Colorado is looking for its first four-game sweep since outscoring Philadelphia 39-7 on Sept. 24-27 at home last year.

Rookie Brendan Rodgers had the big hit Wednesday, a two-run single in a three-run fourth inning for a 4-2 lead the Rockies never lost, and right-hander Scott Oberg had his first save of the season and third of this career with closer Wade Davis on the injured list.

Rookie right-hander Taylor Clarke (1-0) will make his third start and fourth appearance of the season Thursday for the Diamondbacks, who have lost eight of 11 and have had trouble putting hits together at normally friendly Coors Field after scoring 34 runs in a three-game sweep in San Francisco last weekend.

Arizona is 6 of 28 with runners in scoring position in the first three games of the Colorado series.

“The Rockies pitchers have done a nice job,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “I felt like when we came in here we were going to be ready to go and score a lot of runs, I feel like our offensive capability is much greater. Maybe we are trying to do a little too much and trying to duplicate what we did in San Francisco.”

Clarke, who has a 2.93 ERA, made his major league debut with a three-inning save April 20 and has made quality starts in two starts since, both coming after a quick return to Triple-A Reno.

Clarke was charged with three runs in 6 1/3 innings while recording his first career victory in his last start at San Francisco on Saturday, two inherited runners scoring after he left the game. He has eight strikeouts and three walks in 15 1/3 innings.

“Just take it one day at a time,” Clarke told reporters after his last start. “It’s good to feel confident and all of that and keep it rolling, but you never really want to get too complacent. You don’t want to start getting ahead of yourself or this game will humble you pretty quick.”

Freeland (2-6, 6.71 ERA) was 17-7 with a 2.85 ERA and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting last season, but he has yet to find the same groove in his first 11 starts of 2019. He has made only three quality starts and has been hurt by the long ball, having given up 14 homers in 56 1/3 innings.

“My pitches feel fine,” Freeland told reporters after giving up seven runs and a season-high 10 hits in six innings of a 9-6 loss to Baltimore on Saturday. “It’s the location of those pitches. I’m missing over the heart of the plate, not taking advantage of advantage counts, getting behind guys, walking guys.”

Freeland gave up nine hits and eight runs in six innings in his only previous start against Arizona this season, a 9-2 loss May 4 in Arizona. He is 3-3 in nine career starts against the Diamondbacks. He is 0-2 with 9.53 ERA in five May starts.

–Field Level Media

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