Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
DENVER (AP) — Kyle Freeland has the stuff of an ace. He delivers in the clutch like an ace, too.
Just don't expect Colorado manager Bud Black to label the left-hander one yet. Not even a dominating performance like this could sway him.
Freeland threw seven sharp innings and combined with the bullpen on a two-hitter to help the Rockies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0 on Monday night in a game that was interrupted 32 minutes by rain.
"I'm a critical judge of an ace," Black said. "For me, an ace is somebody that does it over a long period of time. This is no knock on Kyle. I mean, for me, an ace is the guy who's passed the test of time, who's been an All-Star, maybe conceivably won a Cy Young.
"But, hey, don't get me wrong: I love the way Kyle's pitching. He's been great."
Freeland (10-7) allowed two hits and struck out five. It was his fourth career game of seven or more shutout innings at Coors Field.
"The one thing is not letting the old Coors Field effect come into play for me," said Freeland, who grew up in Denver. "I pitch my game."
Relievers Seunghwan Oh and Wade Davis combined to close out the win. Davis pitched a perfect ninth for his 32nd save in 38 chances.
It was a positive step for a beleaguered bullpen that endured three walk-off losses — two by Davis — during a 2-5 road swing.
"Good to see Wade bounce back," Black said.
Joe Musgrove (4-6) retired the first 12 batters he faced before allowing a single to Nolan Arenado on the first pitch of the fifth. The right-hander scattered four hits over seven innings and allowed two runs, one earned.
Colorado scored both of its runs off Musgrove in the fifth. Arenado raced home with the first when Josh Harrison booted Gerardo Parra's grounder. Just then, the rain picked up intensity and the grounds crew brought out the tarp.
"I was locked in," Musgrove said. "I didn't realize how hard it was raining until I walked off the field."
After the delay, Musgrove hit Ian Desmond to load the bases and Chris Iannetta followed with a sacrifice fly to bring in another run. The damage could've been more if not for right fielder Gregory Polanco throwing out Parra trying to score from second on David Dahl's single.
"I would've rather not had it," Musgrove said of the delay. "The delay kind of caused me to lose my rhythm a little bit."
Freeland allowed a single to Corey Dickerson to lead off the game and Musgrove's double in the third. Other than that, Freeland was tough to solve against a Pirates team that scored five runs off him in four innings on April 18.
"Pretty much everything" was working, Freeland said. "Fastball command was really good."
Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (shoulder inflammation) will rest a few days before playing catch. "He feels good. We're optimistic there," Black said. ... OF Charlie Blackmon was given a day off.
The wind picked up intensity and the temperature dropped about 14 degrees, making it hard for the baseball to leave the ball park. David Freese hit a deep drive to center in the fourth and Starling Marte another in the sixth that got held up by the breeze.
"They squared a couple up to dead center that I thought off the barrel had a chance to go," Freeland said. "I just think the wind might have been swirling up there."
The Pirates acquired infielder Adeiny Hechavarria from Tampa Bay for minor league reliever Matt Seelinger. Hechavarria is expected to arrive Tuesday.
"Very good feedback from our scouts following him," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Be a good addition all the way around."
The Rockies will bring RHP Chad Bettis (5-1, 5.10 ERA) off the disabled list to start Tuesday against the Pirates. Bettis hasn't pitched for Colorado since July 1 due to a blister on his middle finger. Pittsburgh will throw RHP Jameson Taillon (8-8, 3.74), who's been charged with three runs or less in each of his last 12 starts.
Both pitchers dealt with testicular cancer a season ago.
"Both healthy. Both in the big leagues," Taillon said. "Life's good."
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball