A Rockies Night for Villanueva – Cubs 4, Rockies 9

Game Thirty-Nine – Cubs 4, Rockies 9

WP – Jeff Francis (2-3) LP – Carlos Villanueva (1-3) Save – None

The Cubs three-game winning streak came to a screeching halt on Tuesday night as the Rockies scored runs at will against Carlos Villanueva while the Cubs’ offense did nothing for the first four innings against Jeff Francis. The Rockies scored nine runs on 17 hits, nine for extra bases, and evened the series at a game apiece.

Carlos Villanueva was hit very hard and surrendered a season high seven runs on 12 hits in just five innings. Villanueva did not fool anyone on Tuesday and had obvious problems with his location. The Rockies scored at least one run in four of the five innings Villanueva completed on Tuesday and his final line could have been worse if not for plays by Alfonso Soriano, Scott Hairston and Darwin Barney that kept two more runs from scoring.

Carlos Villanueva ended up allowing seven runs on 12 hits with no walks and a strikeout on 80 pitches, 54 for strikes. Villanueva admitted after the game he did not help his case to remain in the rotation when Matt Garza returns.

Hector Rondon and Michael Bowden kept the Rockies off the board in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings and gave the offense a chance to put runs on the board. The Cubs cut the Rockies lead to 7-3 going into the ninth before Shawn Camp gave up two more runs on three hits, including Carlos Gonzalez’s second home run of the game.

A day after Travis Wood and company held Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki without a hit, the two sluggers were a combined 8-for-10 on Tuesday with two home runs, three doubles, four RBI and five runs scored. Carlos Gonzalez continued lighting up Cubs pitching and put together the first five-hit game of his career. Gonzalez went 5-for-5 with two home runs, a double, three runs scored and three RBI.

Darwin Barney (3-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBI) broke up Jeff Francis’ shutout with his second longball of the season in the fifth inning. Barney was one of the few bright spots for the Cubs on Tuesday night. Barney doubled in Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) with the Cubs final run in the ninth.

Starlin Castro (1-for-5 with a double and a run scored) and David DeJesus (2-for-5 with a run scored) collected three of the Cubs seven hits and scored half of the four runs.

The offense could not get anything going early on against Jeff Francis. The entire lineup was too aggressive against Francis and while he threw strikes, the Cubs made it even easier on him.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 16-23 on the season.

Eric Young Jr. led off the game with a double to left. Young reached out and poked a 1-2 pitch down the left field line. Soriano did a good job holding the speedy Young to a two-basehit. Dexter Fowler dropped down a bunt but bunted it too hard toward third. Young ended up at third with what was ruled a sac bunt as Ransom just barely threw out Fowler at first. Carlos Gonzalez lined a 1-1 pitch into right. Young scored and three batters in the game, the Cubs were down 1-0. Villanueva retired Tulowitzki on a pop out to right and Rosario on a grounder to short to end the inning.

The offense set a tone against Jeff Francis in the first inning. The Cubs were very aggressive and Francis set down the side in order on just 10 pitches.

The Rockies came out swinging in the second and put the game away. Todd Helton ripped Villanueva’s first pitch into right. Nolan Arenado followed with a single to right. With runners on first and second with no outs, Josh Rutledge ripped a 0-2 pitch past Ransom into left. Alfonso Soriano charged the ball and threw out Helton at the plate. Soriano made an excellent throw and received an assist from Castillo with a tremendous tag. With runners on second and third with one down, Jeff Francis drove a 1-1 pitch into deep right center. Arenado tagged and scored, 2-0 Rockies.

Eric Young Jr. stepped in and launched a 1-1 pitch to deep center. Young’s first homer of the season ended up on top of the batter’s eye in center … 4-0 Rockies. Fowler popped out to Barney for the third out.

Carlos Gonzalez led off the third with a homer to right on a 1-2 pitch … 5-0 Rockies. Villanueva retired Tulowitzki (pop out to left), Rosario (groundout to short) and Helton (lineout to right center) to end the inning. Villanueva needed 43 pitches, 30 for strikes, to complete three innings on Tuesday night.

Darwin Barney broke up Jeff Francis’s no hit bid with a single in the third. After Villanueva bunted him to second with two down, David DeJesus struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Carlos Villanueva kept the Rockies off the board in the fourth … but barely made it through the fifth inning.

The Rockies recorded three straight doubles to start the fifth and if not for Fowler getting greedy, the Rockies might have put more runs on the board. Dexter Fowler led off the fifth with a double to right. Scott Hairston threw a strike to Barney who made a perfect relay to Ransom to cut down Fowler at third. Fowler never picked up his third base coach. Carlos Gonzalez pulled a 3-1 pitch into the right field corner. Gonzalez settled for a one-out double. Troy Tulowitzki followed and pulled a 2-1 pitch into left. Gonzalez scored on the third straight double … 6-0 Rockies. Rosario grounded out to third for the second out. Helton kicked the extra point with a single to center that plated Tulowitzki … 7-0 Rockies. Villanueva finally got out of the inning when Arenado grounded out to Darwin Barney.

Darwin Barney broke up Francis’ shutout with his second longball of the season with two down in the fifth. Barney pulled a 1-1 pitch that ended up in the bleachers … 7-1 Rockies. Julio Borbon hit for Villanueva and walked but DeJesus looked at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs offense was entirely too aggressive against Jeff Francis on Tuesday. Francis threw only 68 pitches, 46 for strikes, over the first five innings.

The game remained 7-1 until the eighth inning after Hector Rondon kept the Rockies off the board in the sixth and Michael Bowden tossed two scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth innings.

The Rockies gave the Cubs a couple of runs in the eighth.  Edgmer Escalona struck out Ryan Sweeney swinging to start the inning. David DeJesus singled and advanced to second when Eric Young Jr. dropped a fly to right off the bat of Starlin Castro. Anthony Rizzo the hit a 0-2 pitch back to the mound. Escalona fielded the ball but threw it into center. DeJesus scored, 7-2 Rockies. With runners on first and third with one down, Alfonso Soriano pulled a 1-0 pitch down the third baseline. Arenado made a diving stop in foul ground, got to his feet and threw to first. Arenado’s throw somehow missed hitting Soriano and Helton kept his toe on the base for the second out. Castro scored on the play, 7-3 Rockies. Hairston flied out to left to end the inning.

Shawn Camp started the ninth and he struggled once again. Carlos Gonzalez launched his second homer of the night with one out in the ninth. Tulowitzki followed with a double to left. Rosario singled, Tulowitzki stopped at third then tagged and scored the Rockies’ ninth run when Helton lifted a 2-2 pitch out to left. Arenado grounded out to third to end the inning.

The game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs down 9-3.

Welington Castillo led off the ninth with a double to left center. Rafael Betancourt then struck out Cody Ransom. Darwin Barney completed his big night with a double to left center (1-1 pitch). Castillo scored, 9-4 Rockies. Dioner Navarro hit for Shawn Camp and struck out. DeJesus singled to right. Barney held at third. DeJesus took second with Castro at the plate. Castro lined a one-hopper to Tulowitzki to the end the game.

Jeff Samardzija takes on Jon Garland in the series finale with the Rockies on Wednesday night.

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Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth