Freeland recovers well after rough start

Freeland recovers well after rough start

DENVER --- Almost everything went right for Rockies rookie left-handed pitcher Kyle Freeland -- except for an inning that went so wrong that he ended up with an 8-1 loss to the Cubs in the second game of a doubleheader at Coors Field on Tuesday night.

The Rockies won the first game, 10-4.

Freeland gave up four hits and walked four, but all the hits and half the walks came in the Cubs' five-run second inning. Two errors didn't help, but neither did walking Ben Zobrist with the bases loaded.

But Freeland lasted six innings and struck out six. He didn't match Cubs pitcher John Lackey, who fanned 10 and held the Rockies scoreless on four hits over seven innings, but showed resilience.

"You learn a lot about yourself, about the game," said Freeland (3-2). "You've got to make adjustments on the fly and learn about yourself out on the field. That's a big part of it."

The miscues were almost highlight-reel defensive plays. Shortstop Trevor Story dove to stop Addison Russell's grounder with one out and a runner at first. Story rolled over and flipped wildly to second. After the ball bounced off diving first baseman Mark Reynolds, who was trying to reach a ground ball hit by Albert Almora Jr. which saw second baseman DJ LeMahieu make the wild flip to second.

Freeland had no qualms with the confidence of his infielders to even attempt those plays.

"I have complete confidence in my defense behind me," Freeland said. "Story, DJ and Mark made some incredible plays, knocking the ball down and keeping it in the infield. We just couldn't quite connect all the dots and get out of that second."

The hits were singles. There was the single by Lackey, who jumped on a first-pitch fastball during an inning when Freeland couldn't achieve downward movement. Freeland kicked himself over the walks, especially one to Zobrist with the bases loaded.

"With Kyle, there's a tendency to get under some balls -- that elbow drops ever so slightly," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "It's just a fine line with him getting on top of pitches. That creates the great sink and movement in the hitting area. That inning, there were a couple walks in there. But his stuff was fine.

"But I really liked the way that he regrouped and put up four zeroes. That was great."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.