Colorado Rockies morning after: Two moments that mattered Saturday

May 26, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; An overall view of Coors Field as fans react as the Colorado Rockies score in the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
May 26, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; An overall view of Coors Field as fans react as the Colorado Rockies score in the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Baseball can be a fickle game, even for a team that has been on an offensive tear lately like the Colorado Rockies.

After scoring 60 runs in their previous eight games (including 10 on Friday night), Colorado’s offense ran into a buzzsaw in the form of St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright on Saturday night. The right-hander held the Rockies to just three hits over seven innings and struck out six as the Cardinals claimed the second game of a three-game series in Denver with a 3-0 victory.

Tommy Pham proved to be the difference-maker in the game, going 3-for-4, including a two-run blast in the fifth inning that provided the Cardinals with some breathing room.

Here are two key moments from Saturday’s game that stood out.

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Kyle Freeland pulled a Houdini

Kyle Freeland worked a perfect first inning but things were nothing but easy for the next three innings. The Cardinals put up six hits through the first four innings, including two hits and a walk to load the bases with one out in the fourth. That’s when Freeland made his best pitch of the night.

With fellow pitcher Wainwright at the plate (who, by the way, was hitting .294 with a homer and five RBI coming into the game), Freeland got Wainwright to tap a ball back to the mound. A throw to home then a throw to first resulted in a double play. Freeland let his emotion spill out as the Colorado partisans cheered. The pitch kept Colorado’s deficit at 1-0 and gave an emotional shot in the arm to the energy within Coors Field.

The pitch was a reminder that Colorado’s rookie arms have a mentality behind them that is way beyond their years. Rather than be rattled, Freeland got the job done … in that moment.

"“I feel like I’ve been in quite a few of those situations so far,” Freeland told Rox Pile after the game. “You have to keep your mind quiet and keep the game as quiet as possible and focus on what you need to get done.”"

Freeland would give up a crucial two-run homer to Pham in the next inning but still achieve a quality start with a 1-2-3 sixth. In all, the southpaw surrendered three runs on eight hits and walked just two while striking out four. Of his 89 pitches, 59 were strikes. Good signs.

Rosenthal made big pitches

On a night when the Rockies could do little against Wainwright, Colorado was looking for any way to crack the scoreboard. It appeared that would happen in the eighth when St. Louis reliever Trevor Rosenthal walked pinch hitter Tony Wolters and pinch hitter Gerardo Parra reached on an error to give the Rockies runners on first and second with no outs.

With the sellout crowd of 48,106 into the game, Rosenthal recovered quickly, striking out Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu. Then, after walking Nolan Arenado to load the bases, he worked Carlos Gonzalez into a two-strike groundout to second to end the inning.

Next: Looking at how CarGo has returned to form

The 26-year-old right-hander entered Saturday night having struck out 29 batters in 17.1 innings. Add two more to that total after working his way out of a big jam against Colorado.

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