Freeland, Story propel Rockies to 3-1 win over Nationals

Nationals_Rockies_Baseball_73405 Colorado Rockies' Brendan Rodgers, left, advances from second to third base on a sadrifice fly hit by Trevor Story as Washington Nationals third baseman Carter Kieboom applies the tag in the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Denver.
Nationals_Rockies_Baseball_06320 Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story falls while trying to catch a foul pop off the bat of Washington Nationals' Juan Soto in the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Denver.
Nationals_Rockies_Baseball_29864 Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, right, forces out Washington Nationals' Carter Kieboom at second base on the front end of a double play hit into by Luis Garcia to end the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Denver. The Rockies won 3-1.
Nationals_Rockies_Baseball_85443 Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland works against the Washington Nationals in the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Denver.
Nationals_Rockies_Baseball_91931 Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story dons a pair of home run shades as he returns to the dugout after hitting a solo home run off Washington Nationals starting pitcher Patrick Corbin in the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Denver.
Nationals_Rockies_Baseball_85362 Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story follows the flight of his solo home run off Washington Nationals starting pitcher Patrick Corbin in the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Denver.
Nationals_Rockies_Baseball_19803 Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman follows the flight of his double off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland in the fourth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Denver.
Nationals_Rockies_Baseball_98735 Colorado Rockies' Brendan Rodgers reacts after fouling off a ball that hit him in the head while facing Washington Nationals starting pitcher Patrick Corbin in the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Denver.
Nationals_Rockies_Baseball_17626 Washington Nationals starting pitcher Patrick Corbin works against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Denver.
Nationals_Rockies_Baseball_11910 Washington Nationals starting pitcher Patrick Corbin reacts after giving up a solo home run to Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story in the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Denver.
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DENVER (AP) — Trevor Story is sure of one thing if his homer Tuesday night winds up as his last at Coors Field for the Colorado Rockies.

“That was a good one,” Story cracked.

Story lined a long, long solo homer with his days in Denver possibly numbered, Kyle Freeland pitched into the seventh inning before running into trouble and the Rockies snapped a five-game Coors Field skid with a 3-1 win over the Washington Nationals.

As he circled the bases, Story received a round of applause from the crowd. The shortstop who was a first-round pick by Colorado in 2011 is set to become a free agent.

“Whenever I think about that possibility, I immediately stop that thought,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I don’t want to think about it. … It was good to see the homer. It was good to see the reaction from the fans.”

What an iconic image to leave them with, too.

Story connected on a slider from Patrick Corbin that went 475 feet, according to Statcast. It was the second-longest homer of the season by the Rockies, behind Ryan McMahon’s 478-foot blast on May 15 against Cincinnati.

“It’s special,” Story said. “Always good to hit a home run in front of our home fans. They’ve always treated me so well.”

Story hasn’t completely ruled out a return to the Mile High City.

“The most fair way to say it is no teams are out of it,” Story said. “That’s as simple as I can put it.”

Freeland (7-8) was cruising along until the seventh, when he loaded the bases and walked in a run with two outs to make it 2-1. He turned the ball over to reliever Tyler Kinley, who got Alcides Escobar to fly out and end the threat.

Carlos Estévez pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 16 chances.

The left-handed Freeland kept slugger Juan Soto and the Nationals from the timely hit over 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run while striking out three and walking four. Freeland has given up three earned runs or less in 15 of his last 18 starts.

“Feels like I’m in the middle of mid-season form,” said Freeland, who didn’t make his first start until May 25 due to a strained left shoulder he suffered in spring training. “It sucks because it’s the end of the season and I feel this way.”

Freeland could possibly make another start Sunday in Arizona or Monday in Atlanta, should the Rockies and Braves need to make up their postponed game from Sept. 16. Black would certainly take more of this version of Freeland.

“He pitched outstanding,” Black said. “His stuff was crisp.”

Soto went 0 for 4 and dropped to .318. He trails in the NL batting race behind the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Trea Turner, who raised his average to .325 with a three-hit night.

Corbin (9-16) tied a season-high with nine strikeouts as he threw six innings. He allowed two runs — an RBI double by McMahon in the fourth and Story’s 24th homer of the season in the fifth.

“Kind of hung a slider there to Story,” Corbin said. “That happens sometimes in this ballpark.”

Brendan Rodgers added an insurance run with an RBI double in the seventh.

Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman celebrated his 37th birthday with a double and an infield hit in which he was called out before a successful challenge.

“It’s hard to play at this level whether you’re 37, 21, 27,” Zimmerman said. “It doesn’t matter what age I am, you owe it to the game, you owe it to your organization — you work hard and you try to produce.”

A first-round pick by Washington in 2005, Zimmerman has remained quiet about his future.

“I don’t want to make a decision on anything before I really have closure on it,” Zimmerman said. “The last thing I want to do is say I don’t want to come back and come December I’m sitting at home talking with my family and I realize I do want to come back. There’s no real rush.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rockies: Rodgers was back in the lineup a day after being hit in the helmet by Josiah Gray’s 92 mph fastball. Rodgers had a foul ball hit the dirt Tuesday, pop up and knock his helmet off in the third inning against Corbin. Rodgers then flew out to right.

UP NEXT

The Rockies will throw righty Peter Lambert (0-0, 4.91 ERA) in their last home game of the season Wednesday. The Nationals will go with righty Paolo Espino (5-5, 4.01), who’s making his first start at Coors Field.

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