Expectations weren't high for Christian Bergman on Saturday afternoon, the right-hander finding himself filling in as a temporary part of the Colorado Rockies' rotation as top prospect Jon Gray works his way back from an injury. And yet, in the Rockies' 6-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs, Bergman was more than admirable in a five-inning outing that kept Colorado in the game against Cubs' starter Jake Arrieta.
In five frames, Bergman allowed just two runs—on back-to-back solo home runs by Anthony Rizzo and Jorge Soler in the bottom of the fourth inning—while striking out seven hitters. That tied Bergman's career high, and combined with just four hits and one walk allowed, gave the righty a very solid start and put the Rockies in position to strike down 2-0 at the end of his outing.
It wasn't meant to be for Colorado on this day, though; the club wasted opportunities against the reigning Cy Young Award winner in the third inning, when Dustin Garneau hit a leadoff double and was stranded, and in the fourth inning when the team ran into a strikeout-throw out double play.
In the seventh inning, after recently-recalled reliever David Hale tossed a scoreless sixth, the Cubs put the game further out of reach. Dexter Fowler crushed a three-run home run off Hale one pitch after floating a soft pop-up down the left field line that dropped in foul territory after Ryan Raburn tripped on the Cubs' bullpen mound trying to make the catch. That made the game 5-0, even further putting it out of reach with Arrieta untouchable on the mound.
Aside from Garneau's double, the Rockies eked out just four singles in the first eight innings of play, and that included one by Mark Reynolds that was only scored a single due to an interference call against Gerardo Parra who impeded the Cubs' attempt at fielding the ball while running between second and third base.
In total, Arrieta tossed eight innings, allowing just five hits and walk while striking out eight. Trevor Story struck out three times against Arrieta before doubling in the ninth inning against Travis Wood; Carlos Gonzalez, who extended his hitting streak to 21 games on Saturday, followed up Story's double with an opposite field two-run home run, but it was too little, too late.
Now, the two clubs face a rubber match on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Thankfully, Jake Arrieta won't be pitching.