Game Four – Cubs 9, Rockies 5
WP – Jason Hammel (1-0) LP – Kyle Kendrick (1-1) Save – None
Dexter Fowler led off the game with a triple and set the tone for the Cubs offense. Fowler scored the Cubs’ first run and drove in the next two with another triple in the second inning. Chris Coghlan and Mike Olt hit back-to-back jacks in the third inning. Starlin Castro launched the Cubs’ third longball of the night in the fifth and Jason Hammel recorded his first quality start of the season as the Cubs outslugged the Rockies on Saturday night at Coors Field.
For as good as Jason Hammel was in his first outing of the year, Saturday night was all about the Cubs offense. The Cubs pounded out 12 hits, six went for extra bases. The Cubs hit two triples, one double and three home runs. The Cubs also walked five times and a total of 19 men reached base Saturday night.
Dexter Fowler (2-for-3 with two triples, two walks, two RBI and two runs scored) reached base four times and was responsible for four of the nine runs. Jorge Soler (2-for-4 with a sac fly, two RBI and a run scored) drove in two runs and scored another. And Anthony Rizzo (0-for-4 with a RBI and a HBP) collected a RBI.
Chris Coghlan (1-for-4 with a home run) and Mike Olt (1-for-4 with a home run and a HBP) went back-to-back in the third inning for the Cubs’ first two home runs of the season. Olt received a scare in the ninth when he was hit by a pitch in his right wrist and had to leave the game. X-rays were negative. Olt said he will be able to play Sunday. He’s listed as day-to-day.
Jason Hammel not only limited the Rockies to three runs over six innings, he also went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored a run.
Hammel seemingly picked up where he left off last season with the Cubs, especially when the Coors Field effect is figured into the equation. Hammel made only one bad mistake Saturday night. And Nolan Arenado deposited it in the left field stands for a two-run homer. Hammel had good life on all his pitches. Hammel threw strikes (92 pitches, 63 strikes) and did not walk a batter which is key to any pitchers success in Denver.
Jason Hammel left after six innings. Hammel gave up three runs on eight hits with six strikeouts.
Neil Ramirez was a little flat. Ramirez issued two walks in his one-plus innings. The second free pass scored on a Corey Dickerson two-run single off Phil Coke.
Pedro Strop picked up the last two outs in the eighth and Hector Rondon retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth to close out the Cubs’ second win of the young season.
Dexter Fowler led off the game by driving Kyle Kendrick’s first pitch into left center. The ball rolled to the wall and Fowler was off to the races. Fowler ended up at third with a standing triple. Jorge Soler did his job. Soler lifted a 2-1 pitch to center. Fowler tagged and scored, 1-0 Cubs.
Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch for the fourth time in four games and Miguel Montero walked. Starlin Castro flied out to left center and Chris Coghlan grounded out to second to end the inning. The Cubs scored a run, but the feeling was the Cubs let another scoring chance slip away.
Jason Hammel pitched a 1-2-3 first inning (12 pitches, eight strikes) and after one complete, the Cubs led 1-0.
Mike Olt grounded out to third (2-2 pitch) to start the second inning. Jason Hammel ripped Kendrick’s first pitch back up the middle and into center. Arismendy Alcantara stepped in and before he could get comfortable he was down 0-2. Alcantara ended up working a walk.
With runners on first and second with one down, Dexter Fowler hit his second triple of the game. Fowler tripled to right, Hammel and Alcantara scored and the Cubs had a 3-0 lead. Jorge Soler drove a ball out to right. But it was not deep enough. Fowler didn’t test Carlos Gonzalez, and stayed at third even when the ball skipped past Nick Hundley. Rizzo fouled out to Arenado near the railing down the third baseline to end the inning.
The Rockies cut into the Cubs 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
Justin Morneau singled to right center (3-1 pitch) to start the inning. Fowler took a good route to the ball and cut it off, holding Morneau to a long single. Nolan Arenado pulled a 1-1 pitch to deep left and just like that the Cubs lead was down to 3-2.
Hammel refocused and retired Dickerson on a flyout to right center and Hundley on a grounder to second. D.J. LeMahieu singled to center but Hammel caught Kendrick looking to end the inning. Hammel threw 32 pitches, 22 for strikes, in the first two innings. And after two complete, the Cubs led 3-2.
Kyle Kendrick got Montero to fly out to left and Castro to swing over the top of a 2-2 pitch for the first two outs of the third inning.
Chris Coghlan drove a 1-0 pitch to center, and the Cubs first longball of the season made it a 4-2 game.
Mike Olt stepped in and drove a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right center. The back-to-back jacks gave the Cubs a 5-2 lead.
Jason Hammel followed with his second hit of the night, a single to right. But Kendrick caught Alcantara looking to end the inning.
The Rockies cut into the Cubs lead in the bottom of the third. Hammel struck out Blackmon and Gonzalez to start the inning. Tulowitzki doubled to left center and scored on a bloop single to left off the bat of Justin Morneau, 5-3 Cubs. Hammel induced a grounder by Arenado to second for the third out. Hammel needed 48 pitches, 33 for strikes, to complete three innings.
After three complete, the Cubs led 5-3.
Starlin Castro led off the fifth and made is a 6-3 game with his first homer of the season.
Kyle Kendrick retired Coghlan, Olt and Hammel to end the inning. But the Cubs third longball of the game gave Hammel a little more breathing room.
Carlos Gonzalez reached on a throwing error by Alcantara to start the fifth. Alcantara made up for his mistake with a nice pick on a hard hit ball by Tulowitzki. Alcantara started a 4-6-3 double play and Hammel retired Morneau on a pop out to center to end the inning. Hammel threw 79 pitches, 54 for strikes, in five innings.
The Cubs led 6-3 after five innings … and went back to work in the sixth.
Arismendy Alcantara put together another excellent at bat to start the sixth. Alcantara went from 1-2 to 4-2 and worked a leadoff walk. Fowler walked and the Cubs had two on with no outs for Soler. Walt Weiss decided that was enough for Kendrick and went to his pen for lefty Christian Friedrich.
Jorge Soler singled to right center on a 2-1 pitch. Alcantara scored and both Fowler and Soler moved up ninety feet when Blackmon bobbled the ball. With runners on second and third with no outs, Rizzo pulled a 1-0 pitch toward first. Morneau fielded the ball, Fowler scored and the Cubs took an 8-3 lead. Soler moved to third with one out. Montero struck out swinging for the second out.
Starlin Castro dribbled a 1-2 pitch toward third. And beat Arenado’s throw to first. Soler scored, 9-3 Cubs. Coghlan struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jason Hammel put together a 1-2-3 sixth inning … after six innings, the Cubs led 9-3.
Neil Ramirez took over in the seventh. Ramirez retired LeMahieu (grounder to second) and pinch hitter Rafael Ynoa (swinging strikeout) for the first two outs. Charlie Blackmon walked. Carlos Gonzalez lined out to left to end the inning.
With the Cubs up 9-3, Maddon sent Ramirez back out to start the eighth. Ramirez walked Tulowitzki. Maddon went to his pen for lefty Phil Coke. Morneau popped out to Alcantara but Nolan Arenado doubled into the left field corner. Tulowitzki held at third with one down. Corey Dickerson singled to center, Tulowitzki and Arenado scored, 9-5 Cubs. Maddon went back to his pen for Pedro Strop.
Strop struck out Nick Hundley for the second out in the eighth. D.J. LeMahieu reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Castro made a good diving stop and kept the ball in the infield. Weiss sent up Wilin Rosario to hit for Rafael Betancourt. And Strop struck him out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs were not able to tack on in the ninth. Starlin Castro reached on an infield single to third but was erased when he tried to steal second. The Cubs managed one other baserunner in the ninth, Jonathan Herrera after he took over for Mike Olt when he left the game.
Joe Maddon didn’t mess around Saturday night. With a four-run lead at Coors Field, he went to Hector Rondon in the ninth. Charlie Blackmon led off with a double to center. But Gonzalez grounded back to the mound, Tulowitzki was called out on strikes and Morneau grounded out to Castro to end the game.
The defense had played a big role in Saturday’s win. The Cubs turned two double plays, one in the fourth and one in the fifth.
The Cubs and Rockies wrap up the three-game series on Sunday afternoon (3:10pm CDT). Kyle Hendricks faces Jordan Lyles in the finale.