By Dennis Georgatos, Associated Press
Kyle Freeland lasted just three batters before leaving with a strained left groin. The Rockies’ relievers kept them in the game until the hitters could win it.
Five relievers teamed up to help overcome the loss of Freeland, and Colorado got a game-tying homer from Nolan Arenado in the seventh inning and a go-ahead RBI single by D.J. LeMahieu in the eighth for a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.
“Everyone did a great job keeping it a close game to give our offense a chance to win it,” said Mike Dunn (4-1), who picked up the victory with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Freeland, whose 11 wins this season lead major league rookies, appeared to tweak his leg after delivering a pitch to Aaron Altherr. Manager Bud Black and team trainers came out to check Freeland and made the decision to pull him after he threw several warmup pitches.
“Our bullpen was amazing,” said Pat Valaika, who scored the winning run. “That’s hard to do for almost nine innings, to keep the game close for us. But this game was pretty much won by our relievers.”
There’s still no word on Freeland’s status for his next start. Freeland, who recorded one out before being forced out, was receiving treatment after the game and unavailable for comment.
Chris Rusin was the first of the five relievers used by the Rockies. Greg Holland finished up by getting three outs for his 34th save, the most for a Rockies pitcher in 12 years.
With the score tied at 3, Valaika started the eighth by drawing a walk off Luis Garcia (1-3). Garcia retired the next two batters and Charlie Blackmon was then walked intentionally before LeMahieu drove a single to right-center field to score Valaika.
“In that last inning, it was pick your poison,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “Do I want to face Blackmon or LeMahieu? He is a good hitter. All those guys are good hitters.”
LeMahieu said he wasn’t bothered that the Phillies walked Blackmon to get to him.
“I didn’t think he was disrespecting me or anything like that but it did feel good to come through in that situation,” said LeMahieu, last season’s NL batting champion.
The Phillies took a 3-2 lead in the seventh on Altherr’s RBI single but the Rockies came right back in their half of the inning against Ricardo Pinto, as Arenado’s 25th home run tied the game.
Trailing 2-0, the Phillies tied it in the sixth behind Nick Williams’ run-scoring double and Maikel Franco’s RBI triple, both off reliever Antonio Senzatela.
The Rockies broke on top, taking advantage of three first-inning walks by Vince Velasquez that loaded the bases before Carlos Gonzalez delivered a two-out, two-run single.
The Phillies are 0-4 at the halfway point of an eight-game road trip.
RRHP Chad Bettis took another step toward rejoining the team after battling testicular cancer. He pitched into the sixth inning in a rehab start Thursday for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes. Black said Bettis is expected to take another turn with the Isotopes in five days and his status — he remains on the 60-day disabled list — will be re-evaluated after that.