Freeland loses no-hit bid in 9th as Rockies beat White Sox 10-0
AP Sports Writer
DENVER — Kyle Freeland just absorbed the thundering cheers as he tipped his cap and headed off the mound.
“A ton of fun,” he said.
Easy to see why: The hometown kid turned in one of the best pitching performances ever at Coors Field.
The rookie left-hander came within two outs of the first no-hitter by a Rockies pitcher at the hitter-friendly park before surrendering a crisp single to Melky Cabrera as Colorado beat the Chicago White Sox 10-0 on Sunday.
Freeland, who was born and raised in Denver, struck out the first batter of the ninth inning and then allowed Cabrera’s hit to left field on a 2-2 count.
He would make the same pitch again.
“He just muscled it out,” said Freeland, who struck out a career-high nine, walked three and hit a batter.
Cabrera even applauded for Freeland after the hit.
“He was changing speeds and just did a nice job on the mound,” Cabrera said.
The 24-year-old Freeland (9-7) threw 126 pitches. Reliever Jordan Lyles got the last two outs to complete the one-hitter.
Mired in a three-game slump, Freeland decided to mix up his game plan by mixing around his fastball. It worked.
To also change things up, his father stood the entire game. It worked as well.
“I’m at a loss for words, for the way he held his composure for the whole game,” Don Freeland said.
Dad wasn’t the least bit nervous as the no-hit bid went along.
“I talked to myself, ‘Keep it down. Keep it down. Don’t give in. Make him earn it,’” he said.
Kyle Freeland was trying to throw the second no-hitter in Coors Field history. Hideo Nomo accomplished the feat in 1996 when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The only no-hitter in Rockies history was thrown by Ubaldo Jimenez in 2010 at Atlanta.
Edinson Volquez of the Miami Marlins pitched the lone no-hitter in the majors this season, doing it last month against Arizona.
Freeland even had an RBI single in the seventh for the Rockies’ last run.
Freeland watched the end from the dugout. When it was over, his teammates on the bench let him walk alone toward the foul line to greet the winning Rockies coming off the field — and to soak in another cheer from a crowd that included his parents.
“Incredible,” Freeland said. “The fans were great.”
Pat Valaika drove in five runs, including a three-run homer as part of a five-run sixth that turned a 2-0 lead into a rout. Charlie Blackmon also hit a solo homer.
Rockies left fielder Gerardo Parra had the play of the day in the eighth as he sprinted for Yolmer Sanchez’s blooper in short left and then went into a head-first dive to snare the ball. Parra pointed at Freeland, who pumped his fist and tipped his cap in appreciation.
Carlos Rodon (1-2) allowed six runs over 5 1/3 innings in his third start of the season. He began the season on the disabled list with left biceps bursitis.
“Today was all Freeland and the Rockies,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said.
Freeland attended the University of Evansville and was taken by the Rockies with the eighth overall pick in 2014. His favorite players as a kid were Todd Helton, Larry Walker, the Blake Street Bombers, along with pitchers Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook.
To Nolan Arenado, there’s no doubt where this would’ve ranked had Freeland closed out the no-hit attempt.
“One of the greatest things in Rockies’ history,” Arenado said. “It would have been a great story, but at the end of the day it’s still a great story.”
White Sox: RHP Nate Jones (elbow) threw Saturday and felt “a little uncomfortable,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s going be reevaluated and we will see what the evaluation is and we will determine what the plan will be from there for him returning.”
Rockies: INF/OF Ian Desmond (strained right calf) is “progressing,” Black said. … Noticeably hobbling, 2B DJ LeMahieu left the game for a pinch runner after a walk in the sixth. The All-Star LeMahieu has been bothered by a groin issue.
Rockies manager Bud Black predicted this sort of outing. Well, maybe not a one-hitter so much, but how Freeland would throw his first pitch.
Black said it would be a two-seam fastball about 91 mph.
“I hope it’s a strike, too,” he said.
Black was correct on all accounts.
White Sox: After the All-Star break, Chicago opens a five-game homestand — three against Seattle and two versus the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Rockies: Jon Gray (2-0, 3.75 ERA) will start Friday when the Rockies return from the break to open a three-game series in New York against the Mets.
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