Kyle Freeland kept the Dodgers mostly at bay for six innings, but that seventh inning was a doozy. A rally that saw six runs in the frame broke a tie and gave the Dodgers a 9-3 win over the Rockies on Thursday night at Coors Field.
The Dodgers lead the National League West by four games with nine to play, with a magic number of five to clinch the division.
It was a 2-2 tie starting the seventh inning that was mostly a pitchers’ duel to that point, but the Dodgers sent 11 batters to the plate against Freeland, Carlos Estévez, and Jairo Díaz to score six runs. The inning including doubles by Kiké Hernández, Corey Seager, and Will Smith, four walks, a single, two passed balls, and a wild pitch.
The Dodgers saw 42 pitches in the inning, only 20 for strikes. The six runs marked their highest-scoring inning of the year, after topping out at five runs on five different occasions.
Earlier, it looked like the Rockies were headed for a big inning of their own. The first five Rockies tallied three hits against Julio Urías, scoring two runs. The next 16 Rockies had no hits against the left-hander.
Thursday is the 24th anniversary of Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter at Coors Field, one of the most astounding games in Dodgers history. Nomo walked four that night in Denver, and his longest streak of consecutive batters retired was 11 in a row.
Urías on Thursday after allowing those two first-inning runs, giving him a 9.00 ERA in the opening frame this season, retired his next 13 batters in a row. He left with two outs in the sixth and a runner on first thanks to an error.
That runner was stranded, giving Urías his eight start allowing two or fewer runs in 10 tries this season.
“It was a bad first inning with a lot of pitches, but I was able to stay focus on work faster in the later innings,” Urías said through a translator after the game. “There were a lot of pop flies, but they were fast outs.”
Hernández was hit by an 0-2 pitch with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth to tie the game at 2-2, receiving the pitch on his elbow guard in a way that would have made his baseball dad very proud.
Hernández also doubled off the right field wall in the seventh inning to start the go-ahead rally, his seventh straight start with at least one hit, with four extra-base hits during that span.
Mookie Betts delivered the go-ahead single to score Hernández in the seventh. Betts is hitting .444/.500/.806 (16-for-36) with runners in scoring position this season.
Seager, in addition to his double off the center field wall in the seventh, also homered in the fourth inning (which Dave Roberts announced as he was being interviewed by Alanna Rizzo on SportsNet LA) and singled in the fifth. “He’s playing like an MVP,” manager Dave Roberts said on a conference call.
Joe Kelly pitched in his first game since returning from suspension, his first appearance since August 8. He entered with two runners on and two out in the seventh, and escaped with a ground ball, throwing all of eight pitches.
Edwin Ríos unloaded on a ball in the eighth inning for his second home run in as many days. In limited duty this season, nine of Ríos’ 12 hits are for extra-bases, including five home runs. The sound off his bat is something else:
Home runs: Corey Seager (13), Edwin Ríos (5); Trevor Story (11)
WP — Dylan Floro (2-0): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts
LP — Kyle Freeland (2-2): 6⅓ IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
The Dodgers are using a bullpen game for the second time in six days on Friday (5:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA), with Ryan Castellani starting for Colorado.