Kyle Freeland got in on the fun at the plate, too, for the Colorado Rockies.
Freeland pitched effectively into the seventh and had two hits, and the Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-3 on Thursday to maintain their NL West lead.
Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story homered and David Dahl had three hits and two RBIs to help Colorado remain 1 1/2 games ahead of Los Angeles and increase its advantage over the third-place Diamondbacks to 4 1/2 games. Los Angeles won 9-7 at St. Louis on Thursday night.
“We’re playing good baseball, we’re a very confident team,” Arenado said. “Everyone’s playing a part. It’s great.”
Freeland played two parts — keeping Arizona’s offense in check until his left calf cramped up in the seventh and doing damage with his bat. He had an RBI double in the second inning and started a rally in the fourth with a bunt single down the third base line.
“I was amazed with him today. I really was,” Arenado said. “I was like, ‘He’s an animal. He wants to pitch, he wants to hit, he wants to run, he just wants to be out there.’ The best pitchers in this game, that’s how they are.”
Freeland (15-7) was just as effective on the mound. He allowed two through six innings and left with one out in the seventh after giving up two extra-base hits. A cramp that bothered him in the sixth inning flared up again, but he said he is fine.
“I’ve had it on the mound a couple of times before the season,” he said. “It’s nothing that I have concern about.”
He was scheduled to face Clay Buchholz in the finale of the four-game series but the Diamondbacks right-hander was scratched from the start because of tightness in his right elbow. Matt Koch (5-5) started in his place and allowed four runs on eight hits in three innings.
Manager Torey Lovullo said Buchholz felt the tightness in his elbow 26 pitches into his 32-pitch warmup and he was shut down.
“We have learned through some difficult circumstances just get him off the mound and get him evaluated,” Lovullo said. “So he is presently on his way back to Arizona to see our team doctors and obviously get an MRI.”
A.J. Pollock homered for Arizona. The Diamondbacks are 3-12 in September. They lost 5-4 on Wednesday night when DJ LeMahieu hit a two-run homer off Yoshihisa Hirano in the ninth inning.
Arizona trailed 5-1 when Freeland gave up a triple to Steven Souza Jr. and a double to Nick Ahmed in the seventh. Freeland left after manager Bud Black and trainer Keith Dugger came to the mound.
Yencey Almonte gave up an RBI double to Ketel Marte that made it 5-3. The Rockies responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning.
Things don’t get easier for the Diamondbacks. They head to Houston to play the AL West leaders in a three-game weekend series.
“We gotta get going, time is running out,” Souza said. “We are making it more difficult on ourselves but it’s not impossible.”
After Arenado and Pollock traded solo home runs, Freeland hit an RBI double over Pollock’s head in center to drive in Arenado and give the Rockies a 2-1 lead.
Story’s home run in the third made it 4-1 and Freeland came through again in the fourth. He laid down a bunt single down the third base line to lead off and then scored on Dahl’s double to the corner in left.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (5-2, 4.18) will open a three-game series at the Astros on Friday night.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (6-8, 4.89) will start Colorado’s nine-game trip against San Francisco on Friday night.
AROUND THE MAJORS THURSDAY
–The Chicago Cubs needed 10 innings to add a half-game to their lead in the National League Central. Kris Bryant doubled and scored on a bunt single by Javier Baez with one out in the 10th to give the Cubs a 4-3 victory over the Nationals in Washington. Baez also belted a solo shot in the sixth to break a 2-2 tie, but the Nats forced extra innings on Trea Turner’s seventh-inning double. Pedro Strop improved to 6-1 and was the eighth of nine pitchers used by manager Joe Maddon. However, Strop also pulled a hamstring while running the bases. The outcome gives the Cubs a 1 ½-game edge over the idle Milwaukee Brewers.
— Boston’s magic number to win the AL East is down to six following the Red Sox’s 4-3 win over the Blue Jays. The Red Sox blew a 3-1 lead in the eighth before an error by second baseman Yangervis Solarte allowed Xander Bogaerts to score the go-ahead run in the bottom half. J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers hit solo homers to back Eduardo Rodriguez, who was in line to get the win after allowing one run over six frames.
— Oakland’s 5-3 loss at Baltimore gives the Astros a 3 ½-game lead over the Athletics in the AL West. The A’s never caught up following Tim Beckham’s two-run single in the first inning. Stephen Piscotty homered for the Athletics, who had won six in a row before falling 1 ½ games behind the Yankees for the first AL wild card.
— Manny Machado was 3-for-4 with a solo homer and three RBIs as the Dodgers knocked off the Cardinals, 9-7 to keep pace with Colorado. David Freese poked a two-run triple against his ex-team to opening the scoring. Clayton Kershaw delivered an RBI single and struck out eight while allowing three earned runs in six innings.
— Nelson Cruz slammed a three-run homer and Mike Leake worked seven strong innings in the Mariners’ 8-2 romp over the Angels. Leake was reached for only one run and four hits as Seattle ended a two-game skid.
— Michael Conforto and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back homers with two out in the bottom of the ninth to send the Mets to a 4-3 victory over the Marlins in Game 1 of a twinbill. Mets starter Steven Matz smacked his first career home run, a two-run blast right after he surrendered back-to-back homers to Peter O’Brien and Isaac Galloway in the second. Matz left the game tied 2-2 in the seventh, but he was on the hook for the loss before Conforto and Frazier went deep.
— Conforto kept up the offense in the nightcap by going 2-for-4 with three RBIs in the Mets’ 5-2 victory. Thomas Nido belted his first career home run, Amed Rosario was 3-for-4 and Jason Vargas limited Miami to two runs and three hits over six innings.
— Salvador Perez and Jorge Bonifacio hit back-to-back homers during a four-run sixth as the Royals topped the Twins, 6-4. Heath Fillmyer matched a career high with six strikeouts and allowed four runs and five hits over 7 1/3 innings. Minnesota’s loss drops the Indians’ magic number to two for winning the AL Central for the third straight year.