Buoyed by the pitching of Kyle Freeland and power hitting of Michael Toglia and Alan Trejo, the Colorado Rockies raced to a 7-0 lead on the way to an 8-4 victory against Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field in the rubber game of a three-game set between the teams.
The Colorado Rockies stopped a long drought of not winning a series by taking two of three contests against the Brewers.
The victory on Wednesday allowed the Colorado Rockies (59-79) to capture their first series triumph in the team’s last six series. Prior to meeting the Brewers (71-65), Colorado’s last series win came by claiming two of three games against San Francisco from August 19-21 at Coors Field.
Freeland notched his 11th quality start of the season by permitting just one run on two hits over six innings. He matched his season-high with eight strikeouts on the hot afternoon that featured a first-pitch temperature of 94 degrees.
“I definitely felt good cruising through the start of the game and middle part of the game,” the left-hander said of his 85-pitch performance. “But here at altitude, hot days like this — day games — it drains you a lot faster than you think. You get to a point where you need to be smart about it, late in the season. We got a nice big lead and pitched a good game.”
Toglia, playing just his ninth game in the Majors and only his third contest at Coors Field after being called up from Triple-A Albuquerque, along with Trejo, who is taking over at shortstop for the injured Jose Iglesias, provided a big part of Colorado’s offense to give Freeland a cushion with which to work.
The switch-hitting Toglia slammed his first home run at home and second overall in the Majors with a three-run shot in the third inning. One inning earlier, he had doubled off the right field wall to drive in the Rockies’ first run of the day and ignite a four-run frame.
Toglia has enjoyed his short stint in the Majors.
“It’s a blast,” he said. “It’s some of the most fun you will have playing baseball. The facilities. The treatment. Everything is top-notch. So to get all that and to go play baseball on top of that is pretty awesome.”
Trejo capped the second-inning uprising with his second homer of the season, a two-run belt to left field. One night earlier in Colorado’s 10-7 come-from-behind victory, he notched a career-high three hits.
Elias Diaz had two of his team’s nine hits and drove in a run in the series finale.
Here are three things we learned from the series victory against the Brewers:
1. Yonathan Daza shows the value of his presence: After being on the 10-day Injured List due to a left shoulder dislocation, the outfielder returned to action on Tuesday night and certainly made his presence known in the final two games of the series.
In his first game back, he clubbed a three-run home run in a five-run eighth inning that helped the Rox wipe out a 6-1 deficit and send the game to extra innings. In the 10th inning, with Colorado trailing by a run, Daza lined the first pitch he saw for an RBI double to knot the contest before Randal Grichuk won the contest with a walkoff homer.
In the series-clinching win Wednesday, Daza had leadoff hits (and scored) in both the third and seventh innings to raise his batting average for the season to .304.
2. Grichuk can still hit home runs: Known in the past for being a power hitter, the veteran outfielder had 13 homers in 120 games this season entering action Tuesday night. In his final two plate appearances, though, Grichuk socked a game-tying solo homer in the eighth inning before ending the contest with a one-out, three-run walkoff homer in the 10th inning. His second blast traveled an estimated 457-feet and landed on the concourse under the stadium scoreboard in left field.
3. Ryan Feltner is developing into an impact starting pitcher: Despite taking the loss in the series opener, the righthander continued to show improvement permitting just five hits and a walk while striking out a career-high tying seven batters for his second consecutive start. In addition, he did not relinquish a home run for the first time in his last seven starts.
Feltner’s improvement has impressed Colorado Manager Bud Black.
“He’s doing some things that lead us to believe that he’s making progress, which is what we want from a rookie starting pitcher,” Black said about Feltner following his 14th start of the season on Monday afternoon.
“We are doing some things with him that I wouldn’t say are drastic but are a little different than what he was doing in the minor leagues,” Black added. “So, he’s learning on the fly in the big leagues and — for the most part — succeeding.”
Following a day off from action Thursday, Colorado continues its homestand when West Division foe Arizona comes to Coors Field for a three-game set beginning at 6:40 p.m. (Mountain time) Friday. German Marquez (8-10, 4.86 earned run average) is scheduled to start for the Rox while Zach Davies (2-4, 3.74 ERA) is listed as the D-backs starter.