Game Thirteen – Cubs 0 Rockies 5
WP – Jhoulys Chacin (3-0) LP – Matt Garza (0-2) Save – None
The Cubs slipped back below the .500 mark with an unenergetic performance at Coors Field. Q’s squad looked like the team that played a doubleheader in New York Thursday, not the Rockies.
In what is known as a hitter’s park, Jhoulys Chacin picked up the first complete game shutout of his career. The Cubs managed only six hits, five singles, and Aramis Ramirez (3-for-4 with a double) notched two of the singles and the only extra base hit, a double.
The Cubs made a lot of routine outs and did not square up a single ball Friday night, even Ramirez’s double. Q’s offense showed little to no patience and did not work a walk until the Rockies had the game well in hand. Darwin Barney (eighth inning) and Carlos Pena (ninth inning) managed the Cubs only free passes against Chacin. The Cubs hit in to two double plays and were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position … they left six on base.
Jhoulys Chacin threw 114 pitches in nine stellar innings, 76 for strikes.
Matt Garza labored through another rough outing. Garza struggled with his command in a game that was basically over after the second inning. Garza threw 119 pitches in six innings, 68 for strikes … quite a contrast to his opponent.
Garza ran up his pitch count on nine three-ball counts and seven of those came in the first four innings. Garza allowed five runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts in six innings.
The Cubs defense did not help in the second. Marlon Byrd misplayed what should have been a routine sacrifice fly into a three-run triple for Chris Iannetta. Then Starlin Castro threw the relay into the Cubs dugout, which allowed Iannetta to trot home with a fourth run.
The only highlights for the Cubs Friday night belonged to Jeff Samardzija and James Russell. Samardzija retired all three batters he faced in the seventh with a pair of strikeouts on 10 pitches, eight for strikes. Russell sat down Colorado in order in the eighth on seven pitches, six for strikes.
First base umpire, Jerry Layne, left the game in the second inning after a foul ball of the bat of Carlos Pena hit him in the leg. Layne was taken to a local hospital and of this writing there was not an update on his condition.
The Cubs are 1-7 in their last eight in Denver … and were never in the game Friday night. After Jhoulys Chacin and Matt Garza retired the side in order in the first, the Cubs wasted a chance in the second.
Aramis Ramirez led off with a single past Troy Tulowitzki. Carlos Pena struck out after working the count to 3-2 and hitting a rocket off first base umpire, Jerry Layne’s leg. Layne had to leave the game and was taken to a local hospital.
Alfonso Soriano ripped a single into left but Tyler Colvin swung at the first pitch … and grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Inning over.
The Cubs horrific defense played a big role in the Rockies second inning.
Matt Garza could not throw strikes in the second inning and fell behind just about every batter he faced. Troy Tulowitzki led off with a single to left. Garza fell behind Todd Helton 3-1 before the veteran first baseman singled to right. Garza then walked Seth Smith to load the bases with no outs.
Garza struck out Jose Lopez for the first out.
Chris Iannetta hit Garza’s first pitch into center. Byrd appeared to be playing a little shallow, especially at Coors Field. Byrd ran back but could not catch a ball that should have been a sac fly and a run scored.
Byrd hustled to pick up the miscue as all three Rockies circled the bases. Starlin Castro received Byrd’s throw and tried to nail Iannetta at third. The ball was well up the third baseline and ended up in the Cubs dugout. Iannetta trotted home with the Rockies’ fourth run.
Another routine play that the Cubs were able to turn ugly. But the Rockies were not done …
Dexter Fowler doubled to left with two outs and Garza walked Jonathan Herrera. Carlos Gonzalez grounded out to second to end the inning.
The game was essentially over after Matt Garza’s 36-pitch second inning.
While Chacin was busy keeping the Cubs guessing … and swinging and missing, the Rockies tacked onto their lead in the fifth.
Jonathan Herrera led off with a single to left on a 2-2 offering from Garza. Troy Tulowitzki popped out to short. Garza fell behind Todd Helton, 3-0. At that point, it was the eighth time Garza put himself in a three-ball count. Helton ended up ripping a double into left center on a 3-2 pitch. Herrera scored easily after Castro bobbled the Byrd’s throw.
At the end of five, Garza’s pitch count stood at 105, 60 for strikes.
Aramis Ramirez tallied his third hit and the Cubs first extra base hit of the night in the sixth. Ramirez got just enough of a 1-2 pitch to get the ball up into the wind. The ball nearly left the park but hit off the top of the wall and Ramirez ended up limping into second. Carlos Pena grounded out to short to end the inning.
Matt Garza finished his night by retiring the last three batters he faced in the sixth. Garza threw 119 pitches, 68 for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija and James Russell were very good in the seventh and eighth innings … and kept the Rockies from tacking on to their lead.
With Friday’s loss, Q’s squad dropped to 3-4 on their current nine-game trip … and 6-7 on the season.
Casey Coleman will face Jason Hammel in his second start of the season Saturday night.