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Rockies facing final chance to leave Milwaukee with win

Sportsnaut
Jul 24, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black talks to pitcher Austin Gomber (26) during a pitching change in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a difficult defeat, the visiting Colorado Rockies will turn to left-hander Kyle Freeland on Monday to hopefully prevent a four-game sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Freeland (4-7, 4.96 ERA) will be opposed by left-hander Aaron Ashby (2-7, 4.57 ERA), who agreed to a new five-year contract with Milwaukee over the weekend.

The Brewers extended their winning streak against Colorado with a wild 10-9 comeback victory on Sunday. Andrew McCutchen’s two-run double capped a three-run eighth inning that put Milwaukee up 10-8. Colorado got a run in the ninth off closer Josh Hader, but Hader got Kris Bryant on a comebacker to the mound for his 28th save in 30 chances.

Milwaukee won the series opener 6-5 in 13 innings on Friday, then pounded out a 9-4 win on Saturday. The Brewers had lost three straight and six of eight heading into the All-Star break, while Colorado had won five of six.

Eight of Milwaukee’s 10 RBIs on Sunday came with two strikes. The Brewers were 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position, while Colorado was 5-for-15. The Rockies were 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position in Friday’s extra-inning loss.

“Three hard-fought games,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Yesterday was a little bit different, right, but Friday night, hard-fought both sides. Today, hard-fought. A grinder game, long, a lot of runs.”

Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said there was no special explanation for the Brewers’ improved offensive performance after the break.

“There was no meeting addressing that, or anything like that,” Counsell said. “We’ve had some good days. Some guys are doing a nice job. We’re doing a nice job with runners in scoring position. Hunter Renfroe’s hit three homers, that helps. We’ve just swung the bats well.”

Renfroe, activated off the injured list on July 12, homered in his third consecutive game Sunday for Milwaukee, a two-run shot in the third for his 16th of the season. However, first baseman Rowdy Tellez, second on the team with 18 homers, is hitting just .176 in July with three homers.

Ashby was 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA in six games in May, including three starts. Since then, he is 1-4 with a 7.14 ERA in seven starts. Opponents are batting .260 against Ashby, who has never faced the Rockies.

After going 3-0 with a 3.27 ERA in June, Freeland is 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA in three starts in July, allowing 15 runs in 16 innings. He has surrendered a home run in each of his last four starts.

Freeland is 1-2 with a 3.50 ERA in three career starts vs. Milwaukee. In his only start at American Family Field, he was tagged for five runs in six innings in a 5-1 loss, back in 2019.

Bryant continued his hot hitting with a homer and two doubles on Sunday. In 19 games since coming off the IL on June 27, Bryant is hitting .324 (25-for-77) with five homers, six doubles and 10 RBIs.

“It helps our lineup for sure,” Black said. “He’s a very good player. You look at what he’s done in his career — .280 lifetime batting average, .380 on-base, power. He’s a complete player.”

–Field Level Media