MIAMI (AP) — Kyle Freeland allowed two hits and one run in seven innings in his first opening day start, and the Colorado Rockies beat the sloppy Miami Marlins 6-3 Thursday.
Freeland (1-0), who had a breakout 17-win season in 2018, retired his first 11 batters before Starlin Castro lined a single. The only other hit the left-hander allowed was a pinch-hit home run by J.T Riddle leading off the sixth inning.
Neil Walker also hit a pinch-hit homer in his first at-bat for Miami. Teammate Jorge Alfaro homered with two out in the ninth.
Colorado’s Nolan Arenado began earning his new $260 million, eight-year contract when he doubled to start the fourth and scored the first run off Jose Urena (0-1). Trevor Story homered, and David Dahl had three hits and scored twice.
That was plenty of support for Freeland, who struck out five and threw 93 pitches. He committed a throwing error but also made a nifty barehanded grab on the run to cover first for a 3-1 putout.
It was the kind of start the Rockies had in mind as they seek their third consecutive trip to playoffs, and the first NL West title in franchise history.
And it was what the Rockies have come to expect with Freeland. They’ve won 16 of his 18 regular-season starts since July 2.
One downer for Colorado: Charlie Blackmon and newcomer Daniel Murphy each went 0 for 5 at the top of the order.
Urena lost on opening day for the second year in a row. He allowed six runs, four earned, in 4 2/3 innings.
The Marlins are off to a 0-1 start for the fifth consecutive year, and despite a rebranding that includes new colors and a new logo, they could be headed for their 10th losing season in a row.
The crowd was booing by the fourth inning, when Miami shortstop Miguel Rojas made a wild throw to first and center fielder Lewis Brinston let a single elude him, allowing a runner to score from first.
Earlier, catcher Alfaro was slow to pursue a pitch that bounced away from him, which permitted a runner to advance.
Derek Jeter, beginning his second season as the Marlins’ CEO, watched the start of the game from the second row but was out of there by the fourth.
The game drew a crowd of 25,423 at Marlins Park, where the outfield wall is now navy instead of a garish green, and the widely disliked home sculpture has been replaced by a tiered, standing-room-only area.
With rain in the area, the retractable roof was closed.
Rockies: Before the game, they placed LHP Chris Rusin (mid-back strain) and RHP Antonio Senzatela (blister infection, right heel) on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to March 25.
Marlins: Dahl hit a line drive off Urena’s left leg in the second inning, prompting a visit to the mound by Miami’s trainer.
RHP German Marquez (14-11, 3.77 in 2018) is scheduled to start Friday for the Rockies against RHP Trevor Richards (4-9, 4.42).
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