C.J. Cron capped a big day for the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday with a big home run. Cron cranked a go-ahead three-run shot with two out in the seventh inning and Colorado held on to edge Philadelphia 6-5 before a crowd of 23,800 at Coors Field.
Earlier in the day, the Rockies (8-3) announced that the organization had agreed with pitcher Kyle Freeland, a native of Denver, on a five-year contract extension that will cover the 2022-26 seasons.
Freeland started Tuesday night’s contest and was in line for the win when he exited the game after five innings with Colorado leading 3-2.
But Philadelphia (4-8) rallied to take a 4-3 lead on a two-run opposite-field homer by Kyle Schwarber off Colorado reliever Ty Blach—another Denver native—in the sixth inning.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the seventh. After Phillies reliever Seranthony Domínguez retired the first two Rox hitters, Charlie Blackmon, who scored two runs on the night, drew a walk and Kris Bryant beat out a high chopper to third for a base hit to set the stage for Cron.
Philadelphia replaced Domínguez with veteran Jeurys Familia and Cron drove a 2-2 offering from the right-hander 407 feet over the left field fence for a 6-4 Rockies lead.
Colorado Rockies 1B C.J. Cron now leads MLB in homers this season with six.
“For me, it’s all about timing,” said Colorado Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron, who also drove in his team’s first run of the game in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly.
“If my timing is on, everything else seems to sync up pretty well. As a hitter, I guess that’s what you’re trying to always achieve is that good timing. I thought I did an okay job of that in the spring and it kind of carried over (to the regular season).”
The Phillies would score a run off reliever Alex Colomé in the eighth inning on a run-scoring single by Schwarber, his third RBI of the night.
But closer Daniel Bard came on in the ninth inning for Colorado and retired the side in order to earn his fifth save of the young season, tied for second-most in the majors. The right-hander has now converted five of six save opportunities this season.
Justin Lawrence tossed a scoreless seventh inning for the Rox to earn the victory and record his fifth scoreless outing in six relief appearances in 2022.
With Freeland agreeing to a contract extension, Cron acknowledged the importance of having the lefthander and first-round draft choice (eighth overall selection) in 2014 continue in a Colorado uniform.
“He deserves it for what he has done for this organization,” the Rockies first baseman said.
“The time he has been here, he’s always taken the ball every five days and that’s pretty special of a pitcher. So, everyone is super pumped for him. We were glad we were able to kind of get those runs for him tonight.“
In his third start of the season, Freeland surrendered six hits and two earned runs in his five innings with three strikeouts and one walk. It was his longest and best start of the season.
After the Phillies grabbed a 2-0 lead against Freeland, Colorado responded with a three-run fourth inning against Phillies starter Kyle Gibson.
Besides Cron’s sacrifice fly, Randal Grichuk and Elias Díaz each had run-scoring singles in the frame to drive in Blackmon and Bryant, respectively. The two had opened the inning with singles.
With his hit, Grichuk extended his hitting streak to six games. He has also been on base in seven straight contests.
Connor Joe notched a fifth-inning single to stretch his hitting streak to a career-best eight games.
Cron is now slashing .326./.362/.837 with 36 total bases in 11 games this season.
“I think he’s become extremely comfortable in his own skin about who he is, like an everyday legitimate Major League power hitter,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of Cron.
“It’s sort of taken a while to get there. I think with last season, with what he did, I think it solidified in his mind the confidence that he can do what he’s doing—what he did last year. Hopefully, in the coming years, (he’ll) continue to have this kind of performance. But I think it’s about confidence and truly believing that he’s this type of outstanding offensive player.”
The Rockies aided their own cause Tuesday by turning four double plays and committing no errors in the field.
The Colorado Rockies have now won the opening two contests of its three-game series with Philadelphia and will go for the sweep at 1:10 p.m. (Mountain time) Wednesday. The Rockies’ Germán Márquez (0-0, 3.97 ERA) is slated to go on the mound against the Phillies’ Zach Elfin (0-1, 4.50 ERA).