It's been a frustrating season for Kyle Freeland.
The former first-round draft choice of the Rockies, who finished fourth in Cy Young voting last year and opened this season with a win at Miami on Opening Day, finds himself back at Triple-A after a lengthy struggle in the big leagues, and just when it appeared things were falling in place, Freeland hit a rough spot on Sunday.
After back-to-back walks against Arizona's affiliate in Reno, the second one forcing in a run to cut the Isotopes lead to 4-2 with two out in the third inning, Freeland was ejected by first base umpire Paul Clemens. Nelson Gonzalez relieved Freeland, and on his first pitch, Wyatt Mathisen unloaded a grand slam, leaving Freeland with a line of allowing five runs in 2 2/3 innings.
The Isotopes did, however, rally for an 8-6 victory.
In his previous start, Freeland allowed just two runs in six innings. During the weekend, Rockies manager Bud Black said a key part of the Rockies season will be a return of Freeland, who is working on his command and pitch selection with the Isotopes.
In Sunday's Games
AAA Albuquerque (32-44) won 8-6 at Reno (D-backs). Roberto Ramos (.298) was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Yonathan Daza (.373) and Drew Weeks (.229) both had RBI singles in the ninth. Phillip Diehl (1-0, 5.86) struck out three in two scoreless innings for the victory. DJ Johnson (8.57) earned his first win of the season.
AA Hartford (2-3, 39-33) lost 6-1 against Altoona (Pirates). Jack Wynkoop (5-8, 3.26) allowed six runs, five earned, on 15 hits and two walks, striking out two in eight innings. Bret Boswell (.192) hit his eighth home run for the Yard Goats only run.
High A Lancaster (3-1; 37-35) won 9-8 at Rancho Cucamonga (Dodgers). Matt McLaughlin (.257) delivered an RBI single in the eighth that provided the fifth and final lead change in the game. Salvador Justo (3-1, 5.46) allowed two runs on two hits, striking out one and pitching 1 1/3 innings but was credited with the win. Ryan Rolison (4.11) allowed two runs on five hits and two walks, striking out seven in six innings. Tommy Doyle (3.63) pitched a scoreless ninth for his 10th save. Sean Bouchard (.299) and Todd Czienge (.269) had two-run doubles in the fourth inning.
Low A Asheville (2-2; 31-43) lost 11-9 against Columbia (Mets). Niko Decolati (.312) hit a three-run home run in the first. Grant Lavigne (.250) was 2-for-4 with three RBI. Ryan Feltner (3-6, 5.43) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs on 10 hits and a walk, striking out three in 5 1/3 innings.
Short-season A Boise (3-7) lost 9-1 at Spokane (Rangers). Trent Fennell (0-2, 3.68) gave up five runs, three earned, on five hits and three walks, striking out two, in 2 2/3 innings. Vladimir Dilone (.300) was 1-for-2 with a double.
Rookie Grand Junction (4-4) won 9-1 at Rocky Mountain (Brewers). Colin Simpson (.286) hit two home runs, and Reese Berberet (.056) hit his first home run. Miquel Ausua (2-0, 0.00) pitched three shutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk, striking out one, to gain the victory. Alex Haynes (0.00) started and allowed one unearned run on three hits and a walk, striking out four in two innings.