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Hilliard homers twice, as Rockies hold on to beat Reds

Sam Hilliard Rockies Sam Hilliard - The Canadian Press

CINCINNATI (AP) — Sam Hilliard homered twice, his first homers since last April, and Kyle Freeland had a season-high nine strikeouts, and the Colorado Rockies held on to beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 on Wednesday night.

Freeland (1-3) has given up two or fewer earned runs in four straight starts, allowing two runs and eight hits with one walk in 6 2/3 innings.

Colorado had lost eight straight games against the Reds, including the first five meetings this season.

“They had a good series against us in Denver and these (first) two here,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “We needed to stop them. It starts with the starting pitcher. Kyle did his part. The offense did its part to give us six runs.”

Hilliard hit a two-run home run in the third and a solo shot in the fifth for his third career multi-homer game, first since April 24, 2023, when he homered twice against Miami while with the Braves.

“That's the goal, to contribute and help the team find a way to win ballgames,” Hilliard said. “Been grinding the last couple of years. Nice to be back with the Rockies. Feels like home to me.”

Jonathan India, the Reds’ designated hitter after missing Tuesday’s game with a bruised knee, hit a solo homer in the third to make the score 3-1. It was his seventh home run.

That was one of few good swings the Reds had against Freeland.

“We noticed early on that they were strictly hunting fastballs," Freeland said. “So we just decided let's get spin in zone and wait for them to make an adjustment. We rolled with that all the way into the seventh.”

Brenton Doyle walked and scored on Jake Cave's double in the sixth to give the Rockies a 5-1 lead.

Reds starter Frankie Montas (4-7) gave up five earned runs and eight hits in seven innings.

Tyler Stephenson doubled leading off the seventh, but the Reds' catcher was thrown out trying for a triple on a relay from second baseman Brendon Rodgers.

Through the first six innings, India's home run was the only time a runner advanced past first base.

Freeland has four straight quality starts.

“He's very capable of that, stringing solid starts together,” Black said. “Kyle leads our pack because of who he is, and his tenure here. It's really good to see him pitch like this.”

Cincinnati rallied in the ninth after trailing 6-2. Stephenson led off with a solo homer, his eighth, off Victor Vodnik. With runners on first and second and no outs, Jalen Beeks got Rece Hinds to fly to right. Santiago Espinal singled to drive home the Reds' fourth run. India's sacrifice fly made it 6-5.

Elly De La Cruz grounded out, giving Beeks his ninth save.

“Any time you fall short it’s tough," Stephenson said. "We made them use another reliever before tomorrow. We had a little momentum there.”

Hinds, who became the first Reds player since 1937 with five hits through his first two career games, went 1 for 4 with an RBI and stolen base.


Rockies: OF Charlie Blackmon (right hamstring) tweaked his hamstring diving for a fly ball on Monday. He ran before Wednesday's game and was available to hit. ... RHP Jake Bird (right groin strain) was activated from the 15-day injured list and optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Reds: RHP Graham Ashcraft (right elbow strain) was placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to July 8. Ashcraft was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Monday but that option was voided. ... OF Jake Fraley was activated from the family medical emergency list and OF Blake Dunn was optioned to Triple-A.


Reds RHP Hunter Greene (5-4, 3.45) faces Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (2-5, 4.47) in the series finale.