Blackmon, Rockies rally for 4-run 6th inning to top Twins
MINNEAPOLIS — Ian Desmond and the Colorado Rockies don’t care what time of year it is.
Colorado is winning games, even on the road, and believes this success can last through the whole season.
Charlie Blackmon hit a towering two-run homer during a four-run sixth inning and finished with three hits to lead the Rockies over the Minnesota Twins 7-3 on Tuesday night.
Blackmon had three RBIs, Gerardo Parra added a solo homer and Kyle Freeland pitched six innings as first-place Colorado earned its 12th win in 17 road games.
“I don’t think it needs to be discredited,” Desmond said of the early season sample. “Every win is important. I don’t care if it is in April, May or September. You want to win games. You want to win series and you give yourself a chance to play meaningful games at the end. … I’m really confident in what we can do.”
Freeland (4-2) allowed three runs, five hits and four walks while striking out three. Greg Holland recorded his 17th save in 17 chances after Minnesota put two runners on in the ninth against Chris Rusin.
Byron Buxton hit a solo homer for the Twins, but Phil Hughes (4-2) had another disappointing outing. He gave up five runs, eight hits and a walk in five innings.
“I kind of had to rely on just cutters and four-seamers, really,” Hughes said. “It’s kind of tough when you can only lean on two of your four pitches.”
Colorado has adjusted well to playing away from altitude this season with a pitching staff that entered with the best road ERA and opponents’ batting average in the majors. Freeland is one of three rookie members of that rotation.
The Rockies haven’t had a winning record on the road since 2009 and went 33-48 away from Coors Field last season.
“When we’ve gotten together, and this goes back to spring training, we’ve just talked about how we play,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “We don’t worry about the opposition. We don’t worry about where we play. We worry about playing good baseball. I think that’s the message that is circulating around the clubhouse.”
Freeland managed his way through trouble as Minnesota left five runners on in the first four innings and went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Jason Castro and Brian Dozier had RBI doubles in the second against Freeland.
Minnesota is also in first place, but the AL Central leaders dropped to 8-11 at home.
Hughes has allowed at least four runs in three of his past four starts and at least four runs in each of his three starts at home. Hughes departed after allowing a double to Carlos Gonzalez and an RBI single by Ian Desmond to open the sixth.
Colorado reinstated catcher Tony Wolters from the 10-day disabled list prior to the game and optioned catcher Dustin Garneau to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Wolters left with a concussion on May 2 after he was hit in the head by a bat on a swing. His .346 average this season is tied for fourth among major league catchers with at least 15 games played.
Wolters was 1 for 4 on Tuesday and threw out Eddie Rosario trying to steal second base in the fourth.
Rockies: SS Trevor Story is scheduled to take batting practice with the team Wednesday as he tries to recover from a left shoulder strain. Story fielded ground balls Tuesday with no issues. … OF David Dahl (rib stress reaction) could take batting practice with the team on Wednesday. Dahl has been out all season with the injury. … C Tom Murphy (fracture right forearm) threw and also swung the bat Tuesday, and manager Bud Black said he’s getting closer to taking batting practice.
Rookie RHP German Marquez (1-2, 4.88 ERA) starts Wednesday for Colorado against Minnesota RHP Ervin Santana (6-1, 1.50). Marquez is coming off eight scoreless innings in his last outing against the Chicago Cubs. Santana allowed four earned runs in a no-decision against the White Sox.