SAN DIEGO (AP) – Left-hander Kyle Freeland made a brilliant defensive play while holding San Diego to three hits in six scoreless innings and Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run homer in the Colorado Rockies’ 4-1 victory over the Padres on Friday night.
The Rockies have won the first two games of the season against the Padres, who have World Series aspirations after making it to the NL Championship Series last year. Not only are the Padres off to a rough start, but they were booed for the second straight night at Petco Park.
Freeland (1-0) made a sensational play to retire Austin Nola opening the fifth. Nola hit a weak chopper down the third base line and Freeland hopped off the mound, gloved the ball, took two steps, made a leaping spin and threw to first baseman C.J. Cron, who made a nice stretch to retire the runner. Freeland ended up sprawled face down in foul territory.
He squatted behind the mound for a few minutes and was checked by a trainer and manager Bud Black. He remained in the game.
Freeland, who went 3-1 in five starts against San Diego last year, shut down the Padres and frustrated the superstars at the top of the lineup. Xander Bogaerts singled leading off the sixth but was erased by Manny Machado’s double-play ball to end the inning.
Bogaerts hit a sacrifice fly off former Padres closer Brad Hand in the eighth.
The Rockies took a 2-0 lead in the first on three hits and a walk against Nick Martinez (0-1). Ezequiel Tovar singled leading off the fifth and was aboard for Blackmon’s impressive shot to right with two outs. Martinez allowed four runs on six hits in seven innings.
Former Padres reliever Pierce Johnson pitched the ninth for his first career save.
REPPING THE AZTECS
Joe Musgrove, Machado and Bogaerts wore Kawhi Leonard No. 15 San Diego State basketball jerseys during the Padres’ batting practice as a nod to the Aztecs, who play in their first Final Four on Saturday. Musgrove, who grew up in suburban El Cajon, said the NBA star, who usually attends a few Padres games every summer, sent him a handful of jerseys. The Padres will open the gates early before Saturday evening’s game and show SDSU’s game against Florida Atlantic on the video board.
Padres: Musgrove, on the injured list with a broken left big toe, is scheduled to face live batters Saturday at the spring training complex in Peoria, Arizona. He said he’ll throw five innings and about 75 pitches.
Rockies RHP José Ureña, who was 3-8 with a 5.14 ERA last year, is scheduled to start Saturday night opposite RHP Michael Wacha, who will make his Padres debut. Wacha was 11-2 with a 3.22 ERA with Boston last year.