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Kris Bryant, Rockies face off with Madison Bumgarner, D-backs

Sportsnaut
Jul 8, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Kris Bryant (23) hits a solo home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Kris Bryant is finally healthy, and his bat is looking pretty fit, too.

The high-priced free agent is now officially on his first tear as a member of the Colorado Rockies. He will look to keep the production coming on Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix.

Bryant smacked two homers and a long double on Friday during Colorado’s 6-5 victory over the Diamondbacks. It was his second three-hit game of the season, with the other coming against Arizona last Saturday.

Bryant has three homers in the past four games after hitting none in his first 23 games with the club. He missed two months with back woes but is now looking comfortable at the plate.

“I feel like I’ve been swinging the bat well, seeing the ball well, and hitting a lot of balls hard,” Bryant said after the 17th multi-homer game of his career. “Anytime you go out there and contribute after taking a lot of time off, it feels good.”

Bryant, 30, wasn’t looking like a four-time All-Star early in the season after receiving a seven-year, $182 million contract as a free agent.

The former National League MVP with the Chicago Cubs returned from his second injured-list stint on June 27, and two games later, the production cranked up.

Bryant had two hits against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 29 to start an eight-game stretch in which he is 13-for-32 (.406) with three homers, three doubles, five RBIs and nine runs.

While Bryant is feeling good, two of his teammates departed Friday’s game.

First baseman C.J. Cron left in the fifth inning with a left wrist contusion after being plunked by a pitch from Arizona’s Zac Gallen. X-rays were negative, and Cron said he is hopeful of playing on Saturday.

Shortstop Jose Iglesias won’t be in the starting lineup after sustaining a head injury during a home-plate collision with Diamondbacks catcher Jose Herrera in the sixth inning. Rockies manager Bud Black said Iglesias was dizzy when he exited.

Black said Saturday afternoon was a planned off day for Iglesias, who had two hits on Friday to raise his career count to 999.

It could be a tension-filled contest on Saturday. After Cron was hit, Colorado pitcher Chad Kuhl threw a pitch behind Daulton Varsho in the bottom of the inning. That peeved Arizona manager Torey Lovullo.

“It seemed to me there was clear intent by their pitcher who went rogue,” Lovullo said. “I don’t know if he was told to go rogue and try and throw at our batter, the first batter after he got two outs. I thought that was the design of it, and that’s my opinion.”

Arizona’s Sergio Alcantara hit a two-run homer and Josh Rojas went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Rojas had a homer, a double, a walk, a suicide-squeeze bunt and a stolen base.

Diamondbacks left-hander Madison Bumgarner (4-8, 3.74 ERA) will look for his second straight victory on Saturday after going 1-7 over his previous nine outings.

Bumgarner beat the San Francisco Giants on Monday when he gave up three runs and five hits over five innings.

The 32-year-old veteran is 18-10 with a 3.39 ERA in 39 career starts against Colorado. Charlie Blackmon is 17-for-50 (.340) with three homers against Bumgarner, while Bryant is 4-for-23 (.174) with eight strikeouts.

The Rockies will start left-hander Kyle Freeland (4-6, 4.43), who lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. He gave up four runs and six hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Freeland, 29, was 3-0 with a 3.27 ERA over his previous five starts before the setback.

Freeland received a no-decision against Arizona on May 7 when he gave up five hits over six shutout innings. He is 3-5 with a 5.17 ERA in 16 career starts against the Diamondbacks.

Carson Kelly (4-for-12) and Christian Walker (6-for-22) have each hit two homers off Freeland.

–Field Level Media