Kyle Freeland hadn’t rounded the bases since 2011, back when he was a senior in high school. He remembered the way on Sunday.
The rookie pitcher hit one of Colorado’s four solo homers off Bronson Arroyo, leading the Rockies to a 6-4 victory over the struggling Cincinnati Reds. Freeland pulled a 71 mph pitch over the wall in right field for his first major league homer.
“It was pretty exciting,” he said. “Once I connected with it, out of the box I thought it had a chance. As I got to first base, I checked and was pretty sure, that’s gone.”
The Rockies came out on top in a game of home run derby.
Colorado extended the best start in franchise history by taking two of three from Cincinnati. The Rockies have the NL’s best record at 28-17.
Freeland (5-2) remained unbeaten on the road, giving up four runs — three earned — in 5 2/3 innings. Joey Votto and Scott Schebler homered off him in the sixth. The left-hander is 3-0 in five road starts.
Freeland also doubled off Arroyo (3-4), who has given up 15 homers — second-most in the NL. Carlos Gonzalez, DJ LeMahieu and Pat Valaika also had solo shots off Arroyo. Freeland was the fifth pitcher to homer off Arroyo during his career, joining Jaime Garcia, Travis Wood, current teammate Scott Feldman, and Dan Haren.
“He’s a guy that can truly help his cause,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “When guys come to this ballpark, they’re hitter-ish. This is a good place to hit.”
The 40-year-old Arroyo missed more than two seasons while recovering from elbow surgery. He’s given up eight homers in his last three starts.
“This game has ebbs and flows,” Arroyo said. “I’ve been in this position even when I was younger and 100 percent healthy. I’m sure I’ll hit a wall, but I’m not there yet. I’ve got to find a way to get deeper into ballgames. I think the next two or three starts will tell you if I’m bouncing back or if I’m going to have a tough rest of the year.”
LeMahieu matched his career high with four of Colorado’s 11 hits, including a double and an RBI single. Greg Holland allowed a walk in the ninth while remaining perfect in 19 save chances and extending his club record for consecutive saves to start a season.
Cincinnati has lost eight of nine, with none of its starters going more than 5 1/3 innings. The Reds’ rotation has given up 42 runs in 43 innings over that span. Overall, the Reds’ rotation has pitched the fewest innings in the NL and is last with a 5.93 ERA.