Rockies’ Freeland barely just misses no-hitter

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MLB: Chicago White Sox at Colorado Rockies

(The Sports Xchange) – Kyle Freeland, who was born and raised in Denver, nearly pitched his way into Colorado Rockies lore Sunday when he lost a no-hitter in the ninth in the Rockies’ 10-0 romp over the Chicago White Sox.

Freeland held the White Sox hitless for 8 1/3 innings before Melky Cabrera lined a single to left that finished Freeland’s workday after 126 pitches, 80 strikes.

Freeland was replace by Jordan Lyles after giving up the base hit.

Freeland was bidding to become the first Rockies pitcher to throw a no-hitter at Coors Field.

Freeland, a 24-year-old rookie left-hander, hit one batter and walked three in his 18th career start. He had a career-high nine strikeouts, all swinging.

Colorado left fielder Gerardo Parra charged a fly ball hit by Yolmer Sanchez and made a sprawling catch to open the eighth. Freeland, who was born 39 days after the first game in Rockies franchise history in 1993, pointed to Parra, thanking him for the effort.

Freeland’s no-hit bid was the second longest by a Rockies pitcher and second longest at Coors Field.

Ubaldo Jimenez threw the only no-hitter in Rockies history — April 17, 2010, at Atlanta. He walked six and struck out seven and threw 128 pitches, 72 strikes, in Colorado’s 4-0 win while facing 31 batters.

The only no-hitter at Coors Field was thrown by Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 17, 1996. In Los Angeles’ 9-0 victory, Nomo walked four and struck out eight and faced 30 batters, while throwing 66 of 110 pitches for strikes.

The last time the White Sox were held hitless was May 3, 2011, by Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano in Chicago.

White Sox starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (1-2) took the loss, giving up five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

The Rockies scored two runs in the second inning and put the focus squarely on Freeland rather than the outcome with a five-run sixth, a rally that began with Charlie Blackmon’s long home run and included Pat Valaika’s three-run shot.

In Colorado’s three-run seventh, Valaika had a two-run single, giving him a career-high five RBIs. Freeland singled home a run in that inning.

Freeland had gone 0-3 with a 7.27 ERA in his past three starts. And in his most recent outing Tuesday against Cincinnati, Freeland received a lengthy fourth-inning lecture on the mound from Rockies manager Bud Black. He shooed away the infielders and held a stern one-on-one meeting with Freeland, who then retired the next eight batters he faced.

Freeland (9-7) retired the first 11 Chicago batters he faced before nicking Jose Abreu with a pitch in the fourth. He walked Omar Narvaez to open the sixth. Pitcher Carlos Rodon sacrificed Narvaez to second, and he took third on Adam Engel’s grounder to shortstop.

But Freeland stranded Engel by getting Cabrera to fly to short center.

Freeland walked Abreu and Todd Frazier to start the seventh, pushing his pitch count to 89. Chris Rusin began loosening up in the Colorado bullpen. But Freeland got Avisail Garcia to ground into a double play and retired Tim Anderson on a fly to right.

In the Rockies two-run second inning, Mark Reynolds led off with a walk and reached third on Parra’s double. Valaika’s grounder to second netted a run and moved Parra to third. He scored on catcher Narvaez’s errant pick-off throw.

Blackmon slammed his 20th homer to open the sixth, when the Rockies sent 11 batters to the plate and scored five runs. He drove Rodon’s 1-0 fastball that was clocked at 92 miles an estimated 477 feet. The ball hit the back wall of the White Sox’s bullpen in right-center.

Rodon walked two of the next three batters he faced in that inning, and Parra singled to right. Pinch runner Alexi Amarista scored, sliding home just ahead of right fielder Avisail Garcia’s throw to make it 4-0.

The Rockies then blew the game open when Chris Beck came on, and Valaika greeted him with a three-run homer. He drove Beck’s 1-1 slider into the left-field stands for his seventh homer.

(Editing by Steve Keating in Toronto)

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