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Rockies defeat Cubs 5-3 behind bullpen, long ball

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That’s six in a row, if you’re counting.

Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Despite starter German Marquez only lasting three innings, the Rockies got stellar work from their bullpen to win their second consecutive game at Wrigley Field and their sixth in a row overall. Charlie Blackmon and Ryan Hanigan provided a pair of two-run homers for Colorado and Nolan Arenado had a key late RBI single in the 5-3 victory.

The Cubs got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning after one of the worst missed strike calls you’ll ever see an umpire make. With nobody on and two outs, Marquez appeared to strike Anthony Rizzo out looking. Rizzo had already started walking back to the Cubs dugout when home plate umpire Dan Bellino called the pitch a ball. It was one of several questionable calls against Marquez in the first few innings.

Marquez went on to walk Rizzo on the next pitch before giving up singles to Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward. At the end of one it was 2-0 Chicago.

The Rockies evened the score in short order on a two-run home run by Ryan Hanigan, his second of the season, in the top of the second inning.

Marquez ran into a serious jam in the bottom of the third; loading the bases with one out. He got Javy Baez to strike out, and Miguel Montero hit a flair to left that Ian Desmond ran down before it hit the ground. Through three Marquez had only allowed two runs, but he was at 80 pitches and Bud Black decided to go to the bullpen early. He struck out five and walked three.

Colorado took the lead in the top of the fifth inning when relief pitcher Chris Rusin led off with a single and Charlie Blackmon homered to right field to give the Rockies a 4-2 advantage.

Rusin gave up a run in the bottom of the fifth, his second inning of work. Mike Dunn pitched a scoreless sixth.

In the top of the seventh, Raimel Tapia was hit by a pitch, stole second and advanced to third on the throw. Then Nolan Arenado had one of the best two-strike approaches you’ll ever see and swept a single into left field to score Tapia and give the Rockies a 5-3 lead.

Scott Oberg had a brilliant seventh that included a three-pitch strikeout of Kris Bryant. Adam Ottavino hit Jason Heyward to lead off the bottom of the eighth, but then got the next three hitters, two on strikeouts.

When Greg Holland came on in the bottom of the ninth, it was immediately apparent that he didn’t have his best stuff. He walked the bases loaded with one out. Then Ben Zobrist flied to shallow left for the second out and Jason Heyward came to the plate. Holland struck him out to earn his 23rd save in as many opportunities.

The Rockies are now 40-23. They are seventeen games over .500, which is tied for the second-best mark in franchise history with the 2007 team. They are 23-10 on the road. Breathe it all in. Tomorrow they go for seven in a row as 2016’s hottest pitching prospect Jeff Hoffman takes on 2014’s hottest pitching prospect Eddie Butler at 12:20 Mountain Time.

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