The Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs 9-1, increasing their season high winning streak to seven games and maintaining the best record in the National League, 41-23. They accomplished this against ex-Rockies prospect Eddie Butler, who was making his sixth start of the year. While Butler pitched decently, the Cubs couldn’t recover from the early runs he yielded.
The Rockies struck first thanks to a leadoff single by Charlie Blackmon, who scored thanks to a DJ LeMahieu double. Mark Reynolds then laced a double to deep center, driving in LeMahieu. By the end of the first inning, the Rockies were staked a 2-0 lead, which they would not relinquish. In the fourth, Reynolds made Eddie his butler, enjoying a serving of tater tots for a solo home run. It was his seventeenth of the year and brought the score up to 3-0.
Butler finished the game having thrown five innings. He gave up six hits and a walk over five innings, striking out three while allowing three earned runs, which isn’t that bad but was enough of a lead for the Rockies to hold onto. Blackmon added to the scoring in the seventh, slamming a line drive to right field that landed somewhere between Sheffield Avenue and Lake Michigan to bring the tally up to 4-0 in the Rockies favor.
Meanwhile, Jeff Hoffman bolstered his argument for remaining in the major leagues with another great outing. He allowed baserunners in only one inning of his first six. He ran into a little trouble when the Cubs got three straight singles in the seventh, plating their first run of the night to bring the score 4-1. He finished the day having thrown 61⁄3 innings, giving up four hits with a walk and striking out eight.
Manager Bud Black brought on Chad Qualls with runners on first and second and one out to try to get out of it. Qualls got the groundball he wanted, but the Rockies were just a tick too slow to turn the double play. Mike Dunn came on to relieve Qualls and killed the rally by inducing Jon Jay to line out to shortstop Alexi Amarista. Jake McGee came on in the eighth, yielding just a hit to Kris Bryant but otherwise keeping the Cubs tamped down in the inning.
To close out the offense, the Rockies ran the table in the ninth, though it started out a bit weird. Raimel Tapia doubled to lead off the inning. Tony Wolters worked a walk to get to first base. Then, Carlos Gonzalez hit an infield pop fly. The umpires called the infield fly rule, ruling CarGo out. However, it was either called late or Tapia wasn’t aware it was called (or both). He tried to advance to third base and was tagged out.
Now with two outs and a runner on second, the Cubs intentionally walked Blackmon. LeMahieu loaded the bases with a single off of the right foot of Cubs reliever Pedro Strop. Nolan Arenado then cleared the bases, doubling on a full count to drive in three runs and put the Rockies up 7-1 and the fans in taco’s. After yet another hit by Reynolds, Arenado scored on a wild pitch to drive up the score to 8-1. Reynolds scored on a base hit by Ian Desmond, running the score to 9-1. Desmond’s hit gave every position player in the starting lineup a hit. When all was said and done, the Rockies batted around and scored five runs, adding on to that late game “tacking on” trend they’ve been doing.
With Greg Holland presumably unavailable after his bases-loaded affair on Friday, those runs driven in the ninth were huge. Adam Ottavino, who also pitched Friday and had just returned from the disabled list, might’ve been needed to nail down the save. However, thanks in particular to Arenado’s hit, Ottavino was allowed to rest. Jordan Lyles, who hadn’t thrown in a week, was able to get some work in and threw a clean ninth. Symbolic of how the two teams look, Javier Baez just walked back to the dugout when he struck out on a ball in the dirt in the ninth while Charlie Blackmon made a nice running play in center field to end the game.
The Rockies go for the series sweep tomorrow at Wrigley Field. Antonio Senzatela will take his 8-2 record against Jake Arrieta, who sports a 6-4 record. The game starts at 12:20 pm MST.