Kyle Freeland was damn near perfect on Sunday afternoon.
But three small errors – two balls broken off target in the fifth and a change left in the area in the eighth – cost him the game as the Rockies’ formation failed to give the left-handed support in a 2- 0 at Kauffmann Stadium.
Freeland’s second miss went for an RBI single that put the Royals ahead 1-0, and Maikel Garcia hit the third for a solo homer that barely cut through the center field wall and knocked Freeland out of the game.
With the loss, the Rockies finished 2-5 in their seven-game road swing through Arizona and Kansas City.
After winning big innings Friday and Saturday at KC, the Rockies failed to string together hits against Kansas City, which pitched on Sunday. As a result, they were forced to settle for a 2-1 series win against a bottom-placed Royals side in the AL Central. Colorado is now 11-21 from Coors Field.
The Rockies have scored just six combined points in Freeland’s last four road starts, including two by shutout. Only one runner crossed second base Sunday while Colorado struck out 14 times.
Ezequiel Tovar’s two-out double in the seventh was the Rockies’ only extra hit. And he was blocked after Austin Wynns hit a pop-out on the ground to end the frame.
The Rockies put the runners up first and second in the bottom of the ninth with singles from Mike Moustakas and Harold Castro. But Elehuris Montero swung and missed three straight break balls, and Tovar was caught watching a break pitch to the outside corner to end the game.
The lukewarm offense spoiled a commanding start for Freeland, who was coming off a streak of lackluster outings that saw him give up 12 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings.
While the southpaw didn’t blow the ball in front of the batters – he only hit one batter – he effectively worked the strike zone while producing seven balls on the ground in a perfect start to the first 4 innings 1/3. It tied a career high for the longest perfect playing bid of Freeland’s career.
MJ Melendez’s sharp line on the right side, which sprang from the infield grass, broke the perfecto with a one-out brace. One out later, Michael Massey ended the shutout, leading Freeland’s wayward curveball 0-2 for an RBI two-run single that gave Kansas City a 1-0 lead after five innings.
The Royals didn’t hurt Freeland again until Garcia’s first solo shot in the eighth – and even that had to be revisited after the ball bounced off the top of the wall twice before being ripped off by a fan.
Freeland allowed just four hits over seven innings while throwing 64 of 89 pitches for strikes.
The Rockies were unable to take advantage of the opening window offered by Freeland, despite hitting Kansas City right-hander Brady Singer in singles in five of the first six innings. Colorado blocked all five runners as Singer struck out seven while throwing a high volume of pitches (95, 65 for hits) in 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
Reliever Taylor Clarke got Nolan Jones to watch a 3-2 slider in the outside corner to finish the sixth with Moustakas on the move.
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