Freeman Homers In Nightcap As Dodgers Split Doubleheader For Rockies' 100Th Loss This Season

Los Angeles Dodgers first base coach Clayton McCullough, right, congratulates Freddie Freeman after his double off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Victor Vodnik in the ninth inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Los Angeles Dodgers first base coach Clayton McCullough, right, congratulates Freddie Freeman after his double off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Victor Vodnik in the ninth inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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DENVER (AP) — Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer to back the strong seven-inning start by rookie Bobby Miller, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Colorado 11-2 on Tuesday night to gain a doubleheader split and send the Rockies to their first 100-loss season.

Chase Anderson pitched five scoreless innings for his first win in 17 starts this season and Nolan Jones homered in Colorado’s 4-1 win in the opener.

David Peralta and Chris Taylor each hit two-run singles in a five-run second inning, James Outman added four hits and Max Muncy and Kiki Hernandez had three hits apiece in the nightcap. Elehuris Montero homered for Colorado.

It was the postseason-bound Dodgers’ ninth win in 11 games against the Rockies this season and they improved to 31-16 overall against fellow NL West teams. The Rockies lost for the eighth time in nine games in dropping to 57-100 on the season, extending their franchise record for losses. The previous high was a 98-loss campaign in 2012. Injuries that forced an impromptu overhaul of their starting rotation over the course of the year as well as the mid-season decision to trade away key veterans in hopes of bringing in additional young talent factored into the Rockies’ loss-plagued season, manager Bud Black said.

“I think that plays into where we went from there,” Black said. “We used, I think, more position players than we ever have in our franchise history. We’ve used more pitchers than we ever have in our franchise history. That leads me to believe we’ve been hurt by injuries and also by some performance that necessitated roster moves and some trades in midseason. That’s a big transition.”

Miller (11-4) allowed two runs on seven hits. He struck out nine, including fanning the side after giving up a leadoff homer to Montero in the bottom of the fifth inning.

“Today was among the best I’ve felt, especially in altitude like this,” Miller said. “I was a little surprised about that. But that just gives credit to our training staff and the trainers we have to keep me healthy. I’m doing a good job of staying on top of all my stuff but the training staff here has been unreal. I wouldn’t be where I’m at this season without them.”

Black had high praise for the Dodgers young pitcher, who figures to play a prominent role for Los Angeles in the postseason.

“The last pitch he threw was 99 mph,” Black said. “That’s a good arm, a legit arm.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted that Miller, along with fellow rookies Ryan Pepiot and Michael Grove, combined to pitch 14 1/3 innings over the course of the doubleheader at hitter-friendly Coors Field and allowed three runs total.

“It’s just good to see,” Roberts said. “Looking at a doubleheader here, a ways back, this was something pretty daunting, and we couldn’t have gotten through this better on the pitching side.”

Miller got all the run support he needed when the Dodgers batted around in the second inning against Ryan Feltner (2-4). He was making his first start at Coors Field since suffering a skull fracture May 13 when he was struck by a second-inning comebacker off the bat of the Phillies’ Nick Castellanos.

Feltner allowed five runs on six hits in three innings after returning from the injured list last week and getting a no-decision in a five-inning outing at San Diego. Black said after the game he was lifted for precautionary reasons after feeling some tightness in his pitching elbow.

The Dodgers did most of their damage in the top of the second inning, when Feltner gave up four straight singles to start the inning, capped by Peralta’s two-run base hit. Taylor added another two-run single three batters later. Freeman connected for his 27th homer in the sixth inning after Gavin Hollowell issued a leadoff walk to Taylor.

In the opener, the Rockies built a 3-0 lead off Caleb Ferguson (7-4), who went 2/3 innings as the Dodgers’ opening pitcher.

Jones connected for his 19th home run of the season in the bottom of the seventh off Ryan Pepiot to restore a three-run lead for the Rockies.

Anderson (1-6), who was claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay on May 12, allowed five hits. He walked two and struck out four in his fifth start since being reinstated from the injured list Sept. 3. Tyler Kinley fanned Max Muncy with two on and two out to get the save, his fifth.

“Finally to get one, he deserved it for sure,” Black said of Anderson. “The way he’s pitched overall, especially the last couple (outings), he’s thrown the ball well.”

SEEKING 60

Freeman also added to his doubles total in his ninth inning at bat, just beating left fielder Nolan Jones' throw to second with a nifty slide for his 58th double on the year. He's two doubles shy of becoming the first player in 87 years with at least 60 doubles in a season. Joe Medwick (64 doubles) and Charlie Gehringer (60 doubles) in 1936 were the last players to achieve the feat.

ROBINSON TRIBUTE

Prior to the start of the second game, a moment of silence was observed in honor of Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, who died at the age of 86.

QUOTEABLE “It's pretty tough for all of us, for the players, for the coaches, for the team. Nobody wants to lose that many games. We have very good guys here, but baseball can be like that. We've just got to keep going, keep playing hard.” — Rockies' infielder Harold Castro UP NEXT

RHP Emmet Sheehan (3-1, 5.13 ERA) is slated to start Wednesday night for the Dodgers against Rockies’ RHP Noah Davis (0-3, 8.77).

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