Freeland leads Rockies to 1-0 win over Nationals in home opener

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

DENVER – Denver native Kyle Freeland began the show and fellow Mile High City product Pierce Johnson wrapped it up.

From start to finish, the pitchers who grew up going to games at Coors Field shined.

Freeland pitched four-hit ball over 6 2/3 innings, Johnson threw a perfect ninth and the Colorado Rockies won their home opener 1-0 over the Washington Nationals.

“That was so cool,” said Johnson, who earned his second save. “Being able to do it in a place where I used to come and watch games growing up, and all my family and friends were here, I can’t even put it into words.”

Kris Bryant drove in the only run with a single in the fifth. It was the 12th 1-0 game in Denver – the 11th at Coors Field – and first since July 4, 2018, when Colorado beat San Francisco.

This was a quick game at Coors Field, too, taking 2 hours, 18 minutes. Last season’s home opener lasted 3:09.

Freeland (2-0) struck out five and walked two before turning things over to the bullpen. He tipped his cap to the capacity crowd on the way off the field.

“I wanted to let the state of Colorado know I love them,” Freeland said. “It’s great seeing everyone out there and supporting us, behind us with everything.”

The game was moving at such a brisk pace that Johnson had to hustle to make sure he was warmed up. He’s filling in as the closer for Daniel Bard, who went on the injured list with anxiety issues.

“Freeland truly did an amazing job today,” Johnson said. “He kept them on their toes and got a lot of quick outs.”

Jurickson Profar put on a fielding exhibition in left field, beginning with his first-inning leaping grab at the wall. What added to the difficulty was fending off a fan’s glove that was reaching over for a souvenir.

He was far from done. He made a diving catch in the second and a long, running catch in the fifth.

His favorite one?

“All of them,” Profar cracked. “Being able to help Kyle and the team get the ‘W’ on defense feels good.”

Profar is still getting to know his surroundings after signing with Colorado on March 21. He is so new to Coors Field that he asked a clubhouse attendant before the game to point him to the batting cages.

It was an efficient bounce-back performance from Nationals starter Josiah Gray (0-2), who allowed one run over six innings against Colorado. In his first start, Gray surrendered five runs over five innings in a loss to Atlanta.

“With every good start, you just have that much more confidence going out for the next one,” Gray said. “Now I even have more confidence.”

The sun played a role in the Rockies’ only run. Right fielder Lane Thomas lost the ball in the glare, which resulted in a double by Ezequiel Tovar. Bryant brought him in with a liner to left.

“I saw it the whole time until it just got on me,” said Thomas, whose team dropped its fourth straight game. “I kind of hesitated a little bit. I told (Gray), ‘I’m sorry.’”


Nationals: OF Corey Dickerson (left calf strain) has started some light hitting in the cage. “He’s feeling better each and every day, which is a good sign,” manager Dave Martinez said. … INF Carter Kieboom (right shoulder impingement) threw 25 times to bases Tuesday. “Now, it’s just the workload for him, getting through it every day,” Martinez said. … C Israel Pineda (right finger fracture) is going through various baseball activities except for hitting.

Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (knee) is progressing to the point where he might soon throw in an extended spring training game. … Manager Bud Black said OF Randal Grichuk (bilateral sports hernia) “continues to improve but again no timetable.”


The Nationals will start lefty MacKenzie Gore (1-0, 1.69 ERA) against Colorado on Friday night. The Rockies will counter with righty José Ureña (0-1, 15.43).

Yankees score runs in final three innings for 4-1 victory over Dodgers

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – Despite battling injuries all season, the New York Yankees are still managing to pick up victories.

With AL MVP Aaron Judge sidelined after injuring his foot on Saturday, the Yankees got strong pitching and were able to use a little bit of small ball to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 Sunday and take two of three games in the weekend series.

“Just a really good all-around effort. A lot of winning things were happening in that game,” manager Aaron Boone said.

New York plated runs in the seventh and eighth innings on soft-contract grounders before Anthony Volpe provided some insurance with a two-run homer in the ninth.

J.D. Martinez homered for the Dodgers, who dropped the final two games in the series.

Clay Holmes (4-2) pitched one inning to pick up the win, and Wandy Peralta got the last four outs for his fourth save.

It was a pitchers’ duel for six innings between the Yankees’ Domingo Germán and Dodgers’ Bobby Miller. The right-handers matched zeroes as the teams combined for only four hits in the first six innings.

Dodgers’ rookie Miller allowed only one hit in his six innings, becoming the first Dodgers’ pitcher since at least 1901 to allow one hit or fewer within his first three big league starts. The 24-year old right-hander struck out seven and walked two in his third start.

Germán went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run and four hits, including Martinez’s solo shot to tie it at 1-all in the seventh. The right-hander has limited opponents to one run or fewer in four of his last six starts.

Jake Bauers – who was playing right field in place of Judge – scored the game’s first run in the seventh on Kyle Higashioka‘s broken-bat grounder to short.

Bauers got aboard with a base hit then advanced to third when Brusdar Graterol threw the ball away on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s bunt.

After Martinez’s homer, the Yankees retook the lead in the eighth against Evan Phillips (1-1). Oswaldo Cabrera drove in Anthony Rizzo with the go-ahead run with a slow roller that second baseman Miguel Vargas could only throw to first.

“It not being hit well helps when the fielders have to move a little. That’s what you’re selling out for. Good job by the base runners there,” Boone said.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said both balls could not have been placed any better by the Yankees’ batters.

“I don’t think they had a chance on both balls. The base runners had such a good jump. They were jam shots,” Roberts said. “There were a lot of things we did as far as giving away a couple bases on the defensive side.”

Volpe had two hits after being mired in a 3-for-38 slump his last 11 games. He extended the lead by driving Caleb Ferguson’s fastball over the wall in left-center in the ninth. It was Volpe’s ninth homer, which is second among AL rookies.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence,” said Volpe after the Yankees took four of six on the road trip.


Martinez evened it in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to left-center. It was his 10th homer in the last 21 games.

Martinez has 20 homers against the Yankees, his third-most against any club. He has 35 against Baltimore and 23 vs. Cleveland. He is four homers away from 300 for his career.


Miller – the 29th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft – looked like he might have a short outing after throwing 27 pitches in the first inning. He struck out three but also walked two.

Miller retired seven straight between the third and fifth innings before Volpe lined a base hit to center field with two out in the fifth.

“It felt really good. Been working on my slider a lot lately.,” said Miller, who threw 86 pitches, including 39 sliders. “They know I have a good fastball so I have to have my other pitches working as well.”


Yankees: LHP Nestor Cortes is expected to be placed on the injured list Monday or Tuesday due to a shoulder issue. Manager Aaron Boone said Cortes has been slower to recover between starts and is likely to miss one or two starts. … LHP Carlos Rendon (left forearm strain) will face hitters on Wednesday.

Dodgers: OF Trayce Thompson was placed on the injured list with a left oblique strain. OF Johnny Deluca was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.


Yankees: Return home for six games starting Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. RHP Clarke Schmidt (2-5, 5.01 ERA) has gone at least five innings in six of his last eight starts.

Dodgers: Hit the road starting Tuesday against Cincinnati. RHP Tony Gonsolin (3-1, 1.77 ERA) has gone 3-0 in his last four starts.