Rockies Roll Past Tribe to Sweep Two-Game Series; Rockies 8, Indians 1

The Rockies finished off the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday afternoon behind a strong start from left-hander Kyle Freeland and another offensive explosion from the Rockies bats in an 8-1 victory.

Freeland earned his seventh win of the year behind six and one-third quality innings on the mound. He needed 100 pitches to hold the Indians to a run on six hits with five strikeouts. The lone damage against him came on the second-to-last batter that he faced as Jose Ramirez took him deep in the seventh for the Indians’ only run on the afternoon.

Trevor Bauer got the start in the game, just three days after making the start in Kansas City on Sunday. That start lasted just an inning and a third as a nearly two-hour rain delay cut short his outing. Wildness consumed him on Wednesday, as he would walk five Rockies hitters in just three and one-third innings while giving up four earned runs to earn his fifth loss of the campaign. The bullpen would double the runs total in relief of him while the bats did little against Freeland and the Rockies pitching staff, despite the game taking place in the hitter friendly confines of Coors Field.

Bauer’s first two innings were uneventful, as he faced the minimum through the first six batters. Mark Reynolds walked with an out in the second, but was erased on a double play. In the third, that changed as Trevor Story hit the first pitch of the inning into center for a leadoff single. Ryan Hanigan drew a walk before Freeland dropped down a bunt that was fielded and thrown to third to cut down the lead runner. Charlie Blackmon walked to load the bases to bring up DJ LeMahieu, who grounded to third where Ramirez threw to the plate to force Hanigan for the second out of the inning. Nearly out of the jam, Bauer could not retire the dangerous Nolan Arenado, who doubled to right-center to score Freeland and Blackmon to put the Rockies on top, 2-0. The Indians starter would walk Carlos Gonzalez to load the bases, but he came back to strike out Reynolds swinging to end the inning.

Colorado doubled its tally in the fourth and sent Bauer to an early exit. Ian Desmond singled to right and Story walked before a strikeout by Hanigan. An infield single by Freeland loaded the bases again and Blackmon delivered a crushing blow with a double to right, scoring a pair and ending Bauer’s outing. Nick Goody relieved and retired the next two, but the Rockies had a 4-0 lead.

Freeland - Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Freeland – Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Indians missed a scoring opportunity in the sixth against Freeland. Daniel Robertson doubled to center with one out and moved to third on a two-out infield single to short by Francisco Lindor. With runners on the corners, Michael Brantley struck out swinging to leave two big runs on base.

Kyle Crockett, called up prior to the game when the Indians optioned Mike Clevinger to Triple-A Columbus, took over on the mound for Bryan Shaw in the sixth and struck out Freeland before giving up a single to Blackmon. Zach McAllister entered and got a fly out from LeMahieu before Arenado drove in another run with a triple to center to make it 5-0.

The Indians scored a run in the seventh and threatened for more but came up empty. Ramirez homered with one down to make it a 5-1 game and Austin Jackson singled to left to send Freeland to the showers in line for his seventh win. Chris Rusin entered and gave up a bunt single to Bradley Zimmer. Both runners moved up on a grounder to second by Roberto Perez, but they would be stranded as pinch-hitter Edwin Encarnacion grounded out back to Rusin to end the frame.

Colorado added a pair in the seventh off of Cody Allen, who entered to get in some work in the blowout. Reynolds doubled to right before a pair of fielder’s choices. The first erased Reynolds at third for the first out, but the one off of the bat of Story resulted in an error by second baseman Jason Kipnis, putting two on. Hanigan walked to load the bases after a double steal. Allen uncorked a wild pitch with pinch-hitter Raimel Tapia at the plate, scoring Desmond from third, and Tapia grounded out to second to knock in Story to make it a 7-1 game.

Desmond added an RBI in the eighth against former Rockies reliever Boone Logan. Arenado singled with one out and moved to second on a two-out walk by Reynolds. Desmond stepped in and singled to center to make it 8-1 before Story struck out swinging in the final Colorado at bat of the day.

Chad Qualls worked the ninth, walking Jackson with two outs before retiring Zimmer on a grounder to second to end the ball game.

The Indians fell to 29-28 in defeat and finished their short five-game road trip with a 1-4 record. They remain just a game behind Minnesota for the division lead as the Twins have dropped two straight as well. Colorado improved to 38-23 this season and 17-13 at home, owners of the second-best record in the National League and the third-best in the Majors overall.

Cleveland will return home but will take a needed day off on Thursday, their second of the week and their second of three off days in the span of eight days, including the next one this coming Monday. When their schedule resumes Friday, they will play host to the Chicago White Sox for three straight at Progressive Field. The Rockies hit the road for Chicago, where they will start a four-game series with the Cubs beginning Thursday night.

Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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