Game One Hundred Sixteen – Cubs 2 Rockies 15
WP – Josh Fogg (7-7) LP – Rich Hill (6-7) Save – None
Lou Piniella’s pitching staff did a good job cooling off the Rockies red-hot offense for the first 23 innings of the series. The Rockies were coming off a 3-game series against the Brewers in which they scored 36 runs and the Cubs’ staff held them to just 6 runs until the 6th inning on Saturday night. Rich Hill gave up two runs through the first 5 innings but walked Yovit Torrealba and hit Ian Stewart to load the bases with 2 outs in the 6th. Jamey Carroll pinch hit for Josh Fogg and took a 1-2 offering from Hill over the left field wall for his first career grand slam. After Carroll’s grand slam the Rockies scored 9 more runs in the final 3 innings to turn a once close game into a blowout. Rich Hill allowed 7 runs on 9 hits in 5 2/3 innings, his worst start of the season. In 10 1/3 career innings, 2 starts, at Coors Field, Hill has allowed 13 runs on 15 hits.
The Cubs offense had their chance once again in the 1st inning but managed just 1 run after loading the bases with 2 outs. Mike Fontenot walked with 2-outs to force in the run and the other RBI on the night came from Rich Hill. The Cubs loaded the bases three times and came away with only the lone run in the 1st inning. Matt Murton appeared to reach on an infield hit with the bases loaded in the 7th, he was called out and replay showed Murton was safe. Piniella argued with 1st base umpire Chris Guccione but took out most of his frustrations on his own 1st base coach, Matt Sinatro. The loss dropped the Cubs back to 4 games above .500 and they lost a game in the Central Division standings as well. All 7 runs Rich Hill surrendered on Saturday night came with 2 outs. Hill has struggled this season with closing out innings and his last outing magnified the problem. Hill has great stuff and despite the inflated line, he threw only 89 pitches and 59 were strikes. But of the 5 strong innings threw, only once did he retire the Rockies in order….he faced the minimum in the 5th after picking Troy Tulowitzki off of 1st base. Hill has to work on closing out hitters but at the same time it would be good if the offense would give him a few runs to work with while he is on the mound.
After Hill left with 2 outs in the 6th, Michael Wuertz allowed Kaz Matsui to score on a single by Tulowitzki. Wuertz retired Holliday to end the inning and Sean Gallagher took the mound in the 7th.
The Cubs tried to mount a comeback in the 7th, down 7-2 at the time, but after Murton was called out they were unable to chip away at the Rockies lead. Gallagher gave up 4 runs on 3 hits with 3 walks and a 2-run homer to Brad Hawpe in 2/3 of an inning. Gallagher could not find the strike zone and turned a possible comeback into an impossible one. And to add insult to 4 runs, it took Gallagher 38 pitches to record only 2 outs. Scott Eyre pitched the 8th and had similar results after an error by Ryan Theriot. Eyre surrendered 4 runs, 2 earned, on 3 hits in an inning and a third. Eyre threw 27 pitches to 8 batters.
The Cubs are 2-4 so far on this 7-game road trip and will conclude a stretch of 20 in a row on Sunday afternoon. Sean Marshall is scheduled to take the hill for Lou Piniella and the Rockies will send Tim Harikkala to the mound for the first time this season. The 36-year old righty will make only his second career start at the Major League level.