DENVER — It was looking like a classic Coors Field night.
Lots of lead changes, astronomical amounts of hits and runs, and late-inning heroics were all in the cards. The Friday night crowd was treated to 31 combined hits and 24 total runs, but there was no dramatic ending. The Royals found their footing in the seventh, scoring four runs to extend their lead and take the game 14-10. The Rockies, coming off a 1-5 road trip, have now dropped their fifth straight, their longest losing streak of the season.
"Whenever you score 10 runs like that, you expect to win the game," Sam Hilliard said. "It just happens. Sometimes in our ballpark there can be big innings and it just happened to go that way for the Royals in a couple different innings and they managed to come out on top."
There were some positives. Hilliard, freshly shaven and not wearing his signature high socks, broke his 0-for-18 streak with a RBI single in the second. Whatever it takes to break a slump, as his mother would like to say. Hilliard followed that up with his first home run of the season in the eighth, a 443 blast to center field. His locker mate Brendan Rodgers, fresh off breaking his own slump recently, had a three-hit day, his first of the season. He had a home run in the seventh and four RBIs. CJ Cron also had three hits.
"I looked at myself in the mirror this morning and said this beard has no hits," Hilliard said. "It's such a relief, it felt like a huge weight lifted off my shoulder."
There were negatives too, of course. Defensive miscues have been a problem all season, and they continued on Friday. Six of the Royals' 14 runs were unearned.
"I'm frustrated, and surprised," manager Bud Black said before the game. "I didn't see in general this group do a few of the things that we've done ... some of the errors by certain players have been uncharacteristic."
Ryan McMahon is one of those players Black alluded to. A gold glove finalist a year ago, McMahon has seven errors already, including one in the seventh on Friday. Hunter Dozier was able to advance to second on his fielding mistake, and would score later that inning to help the Royals stretch their lead. Yonathan Daza, the Rockies' top defensive outfielder, and Randal Grichuk, who is also above average, both fumbled balls that bounced off the walls. Rodgers also had an error.
And pitching, usually the stronghold of this team, also took a tumble. Kyle Freeland stumbled through his four and 2/3 innings, giving up six earned runs on 12 hits, a career-high. The Royals were already up 2-0 by the time he recorded his first out in the top of the first, and he gave up an additional four runs in the third as he faced nearly the entire lineup before getting himself out of it. Freeland said everything felt off, and he couldn't pin any of his locations
"These starts happen where it just isn't your night," Freeland said. "You aren't hitting your spots, creating good counts to put guys away, you're not getting soft contact and you are not leaving your team in a position to win or giving them any momentum."
Alex Colomé and Carlos Estévez didn't fare much better, giving up four and two runs respectively.
Kris Bryant, recovering from a back strain, started baseball activities again after getting a cortisone shot on Monday. He ran, swung a bat and played catch prior to the game. He'll pick up the intensity on Saturday, and will be evaluated again on Sunday to determine next steps. A rehab start is likely needed.