MLB: Returning Kyle Freeland looks to lead Rockies past Nationals

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Left-hander Kyle Freeland will return from the injured list and look to help the Colorado Rockies win the rubber match of their three-game series with the Washington Nationals on Sunday in Denver.

Colorado capped a two-run ninth inning rally with a bases-loaded walk — with ball four coming on a pitch-clock violation — to steal an 8-7 win Saturday night. It was the first time a game has ended on a pitch-clock violation since the method was instituted last season.

The Rockies have not won a series since May 27-29 against the Cleveland Guardians. Washington has not lost a series since it was swept by the New York Mets on June 3-5, after which the Nationals won eight of 10 games.

Freeland (0-3, 13.21 ERA) will come off the 60-day injured list after dealing with left elbow inflammation to make his first start since April 14.

“I had already started the season, and not at all how I wanted to,” Freeland told the Denver Post. “You can reset in your head — wash away those four starts, even if the numbers are still posted. I was able to take those two months, go through some things, work on some things — make some adjustments — and we’ll see if they pay off.”

Freeland made three rehab starts, including two with Triple-A Albuquerque where he pitched to a 3.38 ERA. He is 5-2 with a 2.31 ERA in eight starts against Washington.

Right-hander Jake Irvin (5-6, 3.24) will try to salvage the finale for Washington.

After five starts in which he allowed two earned runs or less, Irvin was touched for four runs on eight hits over five innings of a loss to the Diamondbacks this week. He opened the game with a five-pitch walk of Corbin Carroll and then gave up a two-run homer to Ketel Marte.

“I can’t really pinpoint it,” Irvin said. “I just didn’t have great command of my fastball tonight. That’s not a recipe for success, and I put myself in some really bad counts.”

Irvin allowed four earned runs in six innings in his only start against Colorado, a no-decision on July 26.

A wild two-run ninth inning capped the Rockies win Saturday night. Washington closer Kyle Finnegan gave up four straight singles and then walked Ryan McMahon to force in the winning run.

McMahon belted a homer among his three hits, and Brendan Rodgers and Hunter Goodman also went deep for Colorado. Ezequiel Tovar singled twice and walked twice.

Rockies right fielder Sean Bouchard left the game in the third inning with back tightness. Right-hander Jake Bird was removed because of groin tightness after facing three batters in the seventh inning.

CJ Abrams continued his hot hitting for Washington, falling a triple short of the cycle, and Lane Thomas and Jacob Young had two hits each.

Luis Garci, Jr. gave the Nationals a 7-5 lead with a two-run homer in the eighth inning, but the usually reliable Washington bullpen couldn’t hold it as Hunter Harvey gave up a solo homer in the eighth and Finnegan faltered in the ninth.

“It (stinks),” Finnegan said. “We played a great game and deserved to win, and I wasn’t able to do my job.”

–Field Level Media

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