It may have felt like Wrigley Field West in downtown Denver on Tuesday night, but the Colorado Rockies still had plenty of home mojo in them.
Despite plenty of Chicago Cubs fans in attendance, the Colorado Rockies kept their winning ways at home going.
Elias Díaz hit his first career grand slam, Sam Hilliard added a three-run shot, and Kyle Freeland threw five strong innings before having to leave the game with a foot injury as the Rockies powered their way to a 13-6 victory. The win was Colorado’s 21st at home since May 21, pushing their record in that span at 20th and Blake to a National League-best at home 21-8.
While 21 is often considered lucky, it wasn’t exactly that for Colorado’s No. 21 on Tuesday after Freeland took a comebacker off the side of his left foot from Andrew Romine with one out in the fifth. After trying to recover the ball and throw Romine out, Freeland collapsed in pain. He would, however, slowly go back to the mound, throw some pitches to test his foot, and finish the inning by getting pinch hitter Johneshwy Fargas to ground into a double play.
Freeland would go back out for the sixth, but had to leave the game before facing a batter because of what was officially called a left foot contusion.
“Kyle is sore, but we think he’s going to be OK. The X-rays were negative,” manager Bud Black said after the game. Black said the next couple of days would determine if Freeland would make his next start.
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Freeland entered the game with a 1.98 ERA over his last seven starts. While he wasn’t that sharp on Tuesday night, he did enough to earn his first win since June 28 and just his second of the season. After striking out the side in the first inning, the southpaw would allow four hits and two runs in his five innings of work, including a solo home run from Ian Happ in the fourth.
While Happ got in his shot on Freeland, Colorado’s bottom of the order was making its presence felt early and often. Through the sixth inning, Colorado’s 6-7-8 hitters (Ryan McMahon, Díaz, and Hilliard) went 6-for-8 with five extra-base hits, including the long balls from Díaz and Hilliard.
Díaz even flirted with a cycle, totaling a homer, single, and double in his first three at-bats. The homer was his first of August after a July where he smacked seven, the most for any National League catcher in the month.
Hilliard, meanwhile, continued a string of power hitting with his opposite field shot in the fourth. He’s hit homers in back-to-back games and has six on the season. Of his 15 hits this season, six have cleared the fence.
Tuesday was the start of a six-game homestand for the Rockies, with the second game of the Cubs series scheduled for Wednesday night. Jon Gray (7-6, 3.62 ERA) will take the mound for Colorado against Chicago’s Alex Mills (4-4, 4.55 ERA).