Rockies secure postseason berth with 5-2 win over Nationals

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The Rockies are headed back to the playoffs for the second year in a row thanks to their decisive 5-2 victory over the Nationals on Friday night. With the win, they brought their magic number down to two as they look to edge past the Dodgers for the NL West title.

Luck was certainly on their side during Friday’s game, as left-hander Kyle Freeland allowed a career-high 11 hits over six innings, but came away with just two runs and four strikeouts en route to his 17th win of the year.

Behind him, it was nothing but extra bases for the Rockies’ offense, who powered the win with four home runs from Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, Chris Iannetta, and David Dahl. Iannetta hammered an 0-1 pitch from Joe Ross a staggering 469 feet out to center field, while Dahl’s solo blast — a 417-footer off of Sammy Solis in the sixth — was his fifth in as many games. Trea Turner logged a pair of runs on a triple in the fourth inning, but it was the first and only break the Nationals received all night. Following Freeland’s departure in the sixth, Harrison Musgrave, Scott Oberg, Adam Ottavino, and Wade Davis pitched a collective three innings of one-hit, five-strikeout ball to lock in the win and secure the club’s spot in the playoffs.

Following the conclusion of the regular season on Sunday, the Rockies will enter their fifth postseason run in franchise history. They were dropped by the Diamondbacks in last year’s Wild Card game and have not advanced past the Division Series since 2007, when they were swept out of the World Series by the six-time champion Red Sox.

Kinsler back with Rangers as special assistant to GM Young

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Former Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler returned to the team as a special assistant to general manager Chris Young, his teammate in the organization’s minor league system nearly two decades ago.

Young said that Kinsler, who was part of the franchise’s only two World Series teams in 2010 and 2011, will be heavily involved in player development and providing mentorship to both players and staff.

Kinsler, a four-time All-Star, was part of a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, a year before his retirement. Kinsler played 14 seasons in the major leagues and spent the last three years in the front office of the San Diego Padres as a special assistant in baseball operations and player development. The 40-year-old has been living in the Dallas area, as he did throughout his playing career.

Kinsler played for the U.S. in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and Israel in last summer’s Olympics, and he will manage Israel in next month’s WBC.

Young and Kinsler were teammates for several weeks at Double-A Frisco in the summer of 2004, the same year the pitcher made his big league debut. They were in big league spring training together in 2005, then Young was traded after that season.

A 17th-round draft pick by Texas in 2003, Kinsler played 1,066 games for the Rangers from 2006-13, hitting .273 with 156 homers, 539 RBIs and 172 stolen bases. He hit .311 with a .422 on-base percentage in 34 postseason games. He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame last summer.

Kinsler hit .269 with 257 homers, 909 RBIs and 243 stolen bases in 1,888 career games overall with Texas, Detroit (2014-17), the Los Angeles Angels (2018), Boston (2018), and San Diego (2019). He is one of only two MLB second baseman with 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in multiple seasons, and had the only six-hit cycle in a nine-inning game since 1900 on April 15, 2009.