Game One Hundred Thirteen: Cubs 6, Rockies 2
WP – Kyle Hendricks (3-1) LP – Yohan Flande (0-4) Save – None
Javier Baez hit two long home runs and Kyle Hendricks limited the Rockies to two runs over eight innings as the Cubs won a series at Coors Field for the first time since August of 2004. The young Cubs stepped up Thursday in Denver and won two of three at Coors Field and finished the six-game road trip with a 4-2 record.
Javier Baez (3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI), Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a home run) and Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a RBI) led the way for the offense. Alcantara singled in Justin Ruggiano (1-for-4 with a run scored) with the Cubs first run and Baez singled in Chris Valaika (1-for-4 with a run scored) in the third and gave Hendricks two runs to work with on Thursday afternoon.
Javier Baez and Starlin Castro hit back-to-back jacks to lead off the sixth and put the Cubs up by three runs. Javier Baez put the game away with his second homer of the game, a two-run shot to right center with Chris Coghlan (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) along for the ride.
All four of Javier Baez’s hits in the big league have driven in runs.
The performance turned in by Kyle Hendricks Thursday afternoon will not receive the press it deserves in the wake of Baez’s big day. All Hendricks did was limit the Rockies to two runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts in eight innings at Coors Field. Hendricks became just the seventh pitcher, all season, to complete eight innings at Coors. Hendricks threw 107 pitches, 71 for strikes.
Kyle Hendricks kept the Rockies off balance and he made the pitches he needed to in order to get out of jams in the fourth and sixth innings.
Wesley Wright and Justin Grimm recorded the final three outs to end the game.
The Cubs ended up with a 5-2 record in the season series with the Rockies.
As Pat Hughes said during the game, the future is looking better all the time.
With Thursday’s win, the Cubs improved to 49-64 on the season.
Justin Ruggiano led off the second inning of a scoreless game with a single to left center. Welington Castillo worked a full count and that gave Ruggiano a head start at first base. Castillo grounded out to third and Ruggiano advanced to second on the play. Arismendy Alcantara singled to right, Ruggiano scored and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead. Valbuena smoked a ball toward first that Morneau picked to start a 3-6-3 inning ending double play.
Kyle Hendricks made quick work of the Rockies in the second … 1-2-3, 23 pitches for Hendricks after two innings, 17 for strikes.
The Cubs added to their lead in the third. Chris Valaika singled to left (2-1 pitch) to start the inning. Kyle Hendricks bunted Valaika to second. After Coghlan grounded out to short, Javier Baez smoked a 0-1 pitch into left. Valaika scored and Baez ended up at second after Dickerson over ran the ball. With the Cubs up 2-0 and Baez at second, Castro grounded out to third to end the inning.
Kyle Hendricks set down the side in order in the third (37 pitches, 24 strikes) and after three innings, the Cubs had a 2-0 lead.
The Cubs could not add to the lead in the fourth. Charlie Blackmon started the fourth with a single to left center, the first hit off Hendricks. Josh Rutledge hit a fly to deep left that Coghlan caught as he backed up toward the wall. Blackmon tagged and advanced to second on the play. Hendricks fell behind Justin Morneau and he drove a 3-1 pitch past Coghlan and to the left field wall. Blackmon scored, 2-1 Cubs, and Morneau ended up at second with a double. Nolan Arenado reached on a pop, bloop toward short. Castro was playing back and did not have a play on the little blooper. With runners on first and third and one down, Hendricks struck out Carlos Gonzalez swinging (3-2 pitch) on a changeup down and outside of the zone. Dickerson popped out to left for the third out. Hendricks did a good job of limiting the damage.
The Cubs led 2-1 after four innings.
Javier Baez led off the sixth inning with the Cubs clinging to a 2-1 lead. Baez worked a full count before launching his second big league home run down the left field line. Baez’s shot gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Starlin Castro followed and worked a 3-1 count before he hit a rocket into the stands in left … Castro and Baez with back-to-back jacks and the Cubs took a 4-1 lead. Flande retired Ruggiano (swinging strikeout), Castillo (grounder to short) and Alcantara (grounder to third) to end the inning.
Arismendy Alcantara made an excellent diving catch running toward the infield to take away a hit from Rutledge to start the sixth. Justin Morneau reached on an infield single. Castro tried to make a short-hop pick and misplayed the ball into a hit. Arenado popped out to Baez in short right for the second out. Hendricks did not want anything to do with Gonzalez and walked him on four pitches. With two on and two down, Corey Dickerson dumped a 1-2 pitch into left center. Morneau scored, 4-2 Cubs. Rosario hit a tapper in front of the plate that Castillo picked up and threw to Valaika to end the inning.
The Cubs led 4-2 after six innings.
Chris Coghlan led off the eighth inning with a walk against Juan Nicasio. Javier Baez stepped in and drove a 0-1 pitch into the Rockies bullpen in right center. Baez’s second home run of the game put the Cubs up 6-2. Castro lined out to right, Ruggiano struck out swinging and Castillo grounded out to short to end the inning.
Kyle Hendricks took the hill for the eighth inning after throwing 91 pitches, 61 for strikes, in the first seven innings. Hendricks retired the Rockies in order and struck out Arenado swinging to end the inning … and his outing.
The Cubs had a 6-2 lead after eight innings.
And that is the way the game ended after Wesley Wright and Justin Grimm recorded the three outs in the ninth.
The Cubs open a seven-game homestand Friday afternoon with the first of three against the Rays. Tsuyoshi Wada is scheduled to face Chris Archer in the opener.