DENVER (AP) — Kyle Freeland pitched six innings of two-hit ball and was backed by the superb defense of Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado as the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 6-1 on Saturday night.
Freeland (2-0) allowed a two-out single to Tommy Pham in the first and then retired 13 in a row before Francisco Mejia’s double in the sixth. The left-hander struck out four and walked one in throwing an economical 83 pitches.
It marked the 10th time in his career that Freeland has gone six or more innings and allowed no runs.
The Denver native rediscovered his form over the offseason by retooling his mechanics. He eliminated the pause in his delivery and added an improved changeup.
Through two starts, Freeland’s looking more like the 2018 version of himself — the one who finished fourth in the NL Cy Young race — than the ’19 rendition when he went 3-11 with a 6.73 ERA.
“It’s many, many repetitions, over probably nine months has gotten him to this point of feeling really good about this aggressive momentum-building delivery,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Freeland certainly had plenty of defensive support. Story made a diving catch in the fourth that had Freeland raising his arms in appreciation. In the sixth, the Rockies shortstop thwarted a big inning by stopping a grounder headed up the middle and starting a double play.
Story contributed at the plate as well with a solo shot in the fourth. It was his second straight game with a homer.
Arenado showed off his glove, too. The third baseman who’s won seven straight Gold Gloves made a running, over-the-shoulder, sliding catch in deep foul territory.
The farthest running catch of his career?
“I don’t really calculate when I’m running out there,” Arenado cracked. “From what I hear, I haven’t.”
Arenado had another diving stop in the seventh.
“This is one of the best defensive games you guys will ever see,” Black said. “What a display.”
No argument from Freeland.
“Nolan and Trevor on the left side of the infield, doing their thing, it’s absolutely incredible having those guys there,” Freeland said.
Matt Kemp hit a solo homer in the third, his first since signing with the Rockies on July 4. He’s hitting .327 with 22 homers over his career at Coors Field.
Padres lefty Joey Lucchesi (0-1) had a forgettable outing in going 1 2/3 innings and giving up three runs.
Trent Grisham homered to center in the eighth off Rockies reliever Yency Almonte.
The Padres had scored at least three runs in each of their first eight games for the second time in franchise history.
“We just never had a chance to really get going. And it seemed like as soon as something started to brew, or we tried to get something going, they’d make a really good defensive play here or there,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler explained. “It was tough to get multiple runners on base.”
RELIEF, PART I
Black was giving closer Wade Davis the night off after he surrendered four runs on a pair of two-out homers in the ninth Friday. Davis still has a tenuous hold on the job.
“We’ll see where this goes,” Black said.
RELIEF, PART II
An All-Star in 2019, Padres closer Kirby Yates has struggled with his command so far this season. He walked two batters in an inning during two of his three appearances. He did that on three occasions all last season.
“It’s not a confidence thing,” Yates said. “I still know who I am.”
Tingler isn’t focusing on all the positive COVID-19 tests around baseball. His attention remains in-house.
“We’re having enough roller-coasters in our games alone,” Tingler said. “I’ve been happy with our organization staying resilient and managing ourselves and being responsible for one another.”
Padres: 1B Eric Hosmer was placed on 10-day injured list due to a stomach ailment. The move is retroactive to Wednesday. His condition is described by the team as gastritis.
Rockies: RHP Scott Oberg (strained back) had his simulated game Saturday halted when he experienced a little discomfort in his hand. Black said they will know more in a few days.
Colorado will throw right-hander Antonio Senzatela (1-0, 3.60 ERA) in the series finale Sunday. The Padres turn to righty Zach Davies (1-0, 3.60).