Freeland helps Rockies beat Indians 8-1 for 4th straight win
By BRENT W. NEW, Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — Kyle Freeland was in command on the mound. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon took care of the rest.
Freeland pitched 6 1/3 effective innings, Arenado drove in three runs and the Colorado Rockies beat the Cleveland Indians 8-1 on Wednesday for their fourth straight win.
Blackmon, the reigning National League Player of the Month, added two RBIs for the Rockies, who lead the NL with 38 wins. Ian Desmond had three hits and scored two runs.
Freeland (7-3) allowed one run and six hits, struck out five and walked none while lowering his ERA to 3.34. The Denver native walked off the mound to a standing ovation from the Coors Field crowd.
“I got chills,” Freeland said. “Day game, middle of the week, getting a crowd like that — it’s great for the city and great for this team.”
The fans had several reasons to cheer the NL West leaders.
With Colorado leading 2-0 in the fourth and Cleveland star Francisco Lindor on second, Blackmon ran down a fly ball in center field and threw to Arenado, who dove at Lindor’s foot as he attempted to take third.
After a review , Lindor was called out.
“It was basically all Charlie,” Arenado said. “I saw Charlie get behind it well. I knew we had a chance. I made my mind up I was going to dive for him no matter what, and luckily I got his foot.”
Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer (5-5), pitching on two days’ rest, allowed four runs and tied his season high with five walks in 3 1/3 innings. He threw just 30 pitches Sunday against Kansas City before rain halted the game and ended his appearance.
Bauer walked three in the third and Arenado hit a two-run double. Blackmon added another bases-loaded double in the fourth, lifting Colorado to a 4-0 lead.
“Got myself in trouble by walking people,” the 26-year-old Bauer said. “When I got in jams I feel like I executed pitches to try and get out of them and did the best I could to minimize the damage. The ball didn’t go to people today. I don’t know why.”
The Indians looked to get back into the game in the seventh after Jose Ramirez homered and Edwin Encarnacion came off the bench with two runners in scoring position. But the 34-year-old slugger hit a weak grounder to the pitcher to end the inning.
“The only thing we’re really consistent in is being inconsistent,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “In our game, if something comes up short you usually pay for it. Either we make an error, or starting pitching doesn’t go deep or we don’t get any hits. But what I really care about more than anything is just our ability to just value how important every game is and leave it out on the field.”
Colorado outscored the Indians 19-4 in the two-game set. The Indians helped out, walking 14 batters.
SURGING ROCKIES, FLAILING INDIANS
The Rockies have outscored their opponents 32-6 during their winning streak. They are a season-best 15 games above .500 at 38-23.
The Indians have lost five of their last seven.
Indians: Encarnacion (right hip soreness) is expected to start in the DH spot when the Indians return home Friday.
Rockies: OF Gerardo Parra (strained right quad) was placed on the 10-day disabled list and the team recalled INF-OF Jordan Patterson from the minors. Parra left Tuesday’s game in the third inning when he pulled up short during an attempted steal of second base.
PACE OF PLAY
Faster, please. That’s the opinion of baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, who reiterated his priority of speeding up the pace of play when he visited Coors Field on Wednesday.
“I think we continue to struggle with dead time in the game,” Manfred said. “We’re having and will continue to have conversations with the MLBPA about some rule changes that we feel would help us improve on the topic of pace of play.”
Cleveland optioned right-hander Mike Clevinger to Triple-A Columbus and recalled left-hander Kyle Crockett from its top farm club. Clevinger allowed five runs in four innings on Tuesday, but Francona said that was not the reason for the move.
“We have three off days in eight days, that’s why,” Francona said. “It’s not a reaction to last night’s game. He knows he’s going to start one of those games in the doubleheader in Minnesota (on June 17). He’ll pitch once in between in Columbus.”
Crockett got one out Wednesday and allowed a run.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (4-2, 4.36 ERA) faces the Chicago White Sox on Friday. He threw six shutout innings against Oakland last Thursday in his first start since coming off the disabled list after being sidelined by a back injury.
Rockies: RHP Tyler Chatwood (5-7, 4.60 ERA) faces the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in the opener of a four-game set at Wrigley Field. Chatwood is 3-3 with a 2.68 ERA on the road this season.