Germán Márquez had a pretty solid start, but Marcus Stroman showed why he’s the ace of Chicago’s pitching staff as he allowed virtually no Rockies offense throughout the game. As such, Colorado fell 2-1 to the Cubs on Friday afternoon without much of a significant fight.
Cubs get off to the races
The Cubs didn’t wait long to get the scoring started. Zach McKinstry started things off in the bottom of the first inning with a leadoff triple to set the home team up with an early scoring opportunity. That opportunity would bear immediate fruit when McKinstry came in to score on Ian Happ’s subsequent base hit, putting the Rockies in a quick 1-0 hole.
That would be the only damage in the inning, but as the Road Rockies (tm) have shown at times this season, it may be a deep hole to climb out of.
McKinstry strikes twice
McKinstry wasn’t done tormenting Márquez. In the bottom of the fifth, he once again led off with a big hit, but this one did not stay in the yard. McKinstry’s 374-foot homer, his fourth of the season, doubled Chicago’s lead with half the game to go.
With the Cubs squarely in the lead, Colorado would need to start figuring out Marcus Stroman quickly to stay in the game, a task easier said than done...
Sixth inning builds momentum
Stroman, for his part, was absolutely dealing in this one. He allowed no hits through the first five frames, and seemed well on his way through his sixth hitless inning as he recorded the first two outs quickly. Any dreams of a no-hitter were dashed, though, when Ryan McMahon sent Stroman’s 1-0 sinker into straightaway center field for a homer, his 17th of the year.
After recording no hits prior, this home run seemed to spark change. Yonathan Daza singled and C.J. Cron walked to put two on for Brendan Rodgers, who grounded out to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, the Rockies again threatened with two outs. Connor Joe was hit by a pitch, and Alan Trejo reached base after his pop-up was lost in the sun and fell down in front of Michael Hermosillo in center field for a single. With runners on the corners, Elías Díaz pinch hit to try to tie the game, but he too fell victim to a groundout. Would the Rockies manage to eke that tying run across?
No such luck. Márquez threw seven quality innings and Justin Lawrence pitched a clean eighth, but the Rockies fell 1-2-3 in the ninth inning and dropped the first of their three games in Chicago. After a quick game (just two hours and ten minutes), the Rockies and Cubs now hold the same record: 20 games under .500.
The second game of the series is tomorrow, another early one. That contest pits Colorado’s José Ureña (3-6, 5.81 ERA) against Chicago’s Hayden Wesneski (1-1, 3.12 ERA).
First pitch is at 12:20pm MDT. See you then!