- Associated Press - Sunday, May 21, 2017

CINCINNATI (AP) - Kyle Freeland hadn’t rounded the bases since 2011, back when he was a senior in high school. He remembered the way on Sunday.

The rookie pitcher hit one of Colorado’s four solo homers off Bronson Arroyo, leading the Rockies to a 6-4 victory over the struggling Cincinnati Reds. Freeland pulled a 71 mph pitch over the wall in right field for his first major league homer.

“It was pretty exciting,” he said. “Once I connected with it, out of the box I thought it had a chance. As I got to first base, I checked and was pretty sure, that’s gone.”

The Rockies came out on top in a game of home run derby.

Colorado extended the best start in franchise history by taking two of three from Cincinnati. The Rockies have the NL’s best record at 28-17.

Freeland (5-2) remained unbeaten on the road, giving up four runs - three earned - in 5 2/3 innings. Joey Votto and Scott Schebler homered off him in the sixth. The left-hander is 3-0 in five road starts.

Freeland also doubled off Arroyo (3-4), who has given up 15 homers - second-most in the NL. Carlos Gonzalez, DJ LeMahieu and Pat Valaika also had solo shots off Arroyo. Freeland was the fifth pitcher to homer off Arroyo during his career, joining Jaime Garcia, Travis Wood, current teammate Scott Feldman, and Dan Haren.

“He’s a guy that can truly help his cause,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “When guys come to this ballpark, they’re hitter-ish. This is a good place to hit.”

The 40-year-old Arroyo missed more than two seasons while recovering from elbow surgery. He’s given up eight homers in his last three starts.

“This game has ebbs and flows,” Arroyo said. “I’ve been in this position even when I was younger and 100 percent healthy. I’m sure I’ll hit a wall, but I’m not there yet. I’ve got to find a way to get deeper into ballgames. I think the next two or three starts will tell you if I’m bouncing back or if I’m going to have a tough rest of the year.”

LeMahieu matched his career high with four of Colorado’s 11 hits, including a double and an RBI single. Greg Holland allowed a walk in the ninth while remaining perfect in 19 save chances and extending his club record for consecutive saves to start a season.

Cincinnati has lost eight of nine, with none of its starters going more than 5 1/3 innings. The Reds‘ rotation has given up 42 runs in 43 innings over that span. Overall, the Reds‘ rotation has pitched the fewest innings in the NL and is last with a 5.93 ERA.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rockies: Nolan Arenado was charged with an error when he failed to make a barehanded grab of Billy Hamilton’s soft grounder in the first inning. The ball deflected off his hand and hit him below the right eye, leaving a cut that needed treatment. He stayed in the game even though his eye swelled. Arenado was the only regular third baseman in the majors who hadn’t committed an error yet this season. “He looked like a prize fighter, but he hung in there,” Black said.

Reds: SS Zack Cozart was out of the lineup with a sore right wrist. He’s expected back on Monday.

MILESTONE

Gonzalez’s homer was his 200th with the Rockies, making him fifth player to reach that mark. He hadn’t homered since April 25, a span of 73 at-bats. He improved to 10 for 19 in his career against Arroyo.

STATS

Freeland became the 11th Rockies pitcher to have two extra-base hits in the game. Juan Nicasio was the last to do it, in 2011 at San Francisco. … Hamilton has reached safely in a career-best 21 straight games. … Hamilton stole second and third in the first inning, the fifth time this season he’s swiped two bases in one inning. … Votto’s 233rd career homer tied Jay Bruce for seventh on the Reds‘ franchise list.

UP NEXT

Rockies: Colorado continues its longest road swing of the season with a four-game series that starts Monday in Philadelphia. The Rockies are 4-2 on the trip so far. Their 15 road wins are the most in the NL.

Reds: Feldman (2-4) makes his seventh career start against the Indians as Ohio’s teams open their annual interleague series on Monday night. Josh Tomlin (2-5) starts for visiting Cleveland.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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