Game Ninety-Eight – Cubs 9, Rockies 8
WP – Rafael Soriano (1-0, BS 1) LP – John Axford (3-4, BS 4) Save – None
Kris Bryant stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth, Dexter Fowler on first base and the Cubs down 8-7 after Jason Motte and Rafael Soriano gave up four runs in the top of the ninth. And Bryant gave his team a much-need win.
Kris Bryant launched a 1-0 pitch from Rockies’ closer John Axford to deep left center. Bryant’s first career walk-off home run, a two-run shot, snapped the losing skid in dramatic fashion as the Cubs fought back twice Monday and beat the Rockies at the old ball yard.
The Cubs offense woke up Monday night from its weekend slump and out-slugged the Rockies. After the Rockies scored two times in the third and two more in the fourth, the Cubs scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth after not collecting a hit over the first three innings. And the six-run rally all started with a pair of walks.
Dexter Fowler (1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored) and Kyle Schwarber (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) worked back-to-back walks to start the fourth. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a run scored) singled to left center. Charlie Blackmon could not complete a diving catch. With the bases loaded, Kris Bryant (2-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored) smoked a ball past Nolan Arenado. Jorge Soler (1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) singled in Kyle Schwarber and a slow roller to second off the bat of Chris Denorfia (2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) plated Bryant.
Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored) gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead with a two-run single to left. And Addison Russell (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) capped the inning with a double that allowed Castro to score.
The Cubs added a gift run in the sixth inning on a throwing error by Nolan Arenado that allowed Chris Denorfia to score from first base.
Kyle Hendricks had a rough night but settled down long enough to pitch into the sixth inning. Hendricks struggled with his command and pitched from behind for a majority of his outing. Hendricks completed one clean inning before turning the game over to the pen with a runner on first and no outs in the sixth inning.
Hendricks allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Hendricks threw 104 pitches, 65 for strikes, in five-plus innings.
Justin Grimm worked around a Starlin Castro throwing error in the sixth and Pedro Strop pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
Hector Rondon gave up a couple of hits in the eighth but did not allow the Rockies to score.
Jason Motte and Rafael Soriano had a bad night. Motte could not record an out in the ninth before Maddon went back to his pen for Soriano. Motte served up a pinch-hit homer to Daniel Descalso that cut the Cubs lead to 7-5. After a Charlie Blackmon single and a D.J. LeMahieu double, Maddon made the change. The Rockies cut the Cubs lead to one run on a grounder to third by Troy Tulowitzki. Carlos Gonzalez hit his second longball of the night, a two-run shot that gave the Rockies an 8-7 lead.
The Cubs did not quit Monday night and played with an energy that was missing over the weekend.
With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 52-46 on the season.
Kyle Hendricks labored through a 31-pitch first inning (15 strikes), the Rockies loaded the bases but Hendricks wiggled out of the jam when Corey Dickerson grounded out to second base. Hendricks tossed a 1-2-3 second inning.
Jorge De La Rosa set the Cubs down in order in both the first and second inning. The game went to third without a score.
Hendricks retired Charlie Blackmon on a grounder to Rizzo for the first out in the third. D.J. LeMahieu singled to center (0-1 pitch). Troy Tulowitzki rolled a 2-2 pitch toward third. Bryant fielded the ball cleanly but had only one play. Bryant threw out Tulowitzki for the second out of the inning. With LeMahieu at second base, Carlos Gonzalez lifted a 2-1 pitch out to left center. The ball carried into the basket and the Rockies took a 2-0 lead. Nolan Arenado grounded out to second for the third out. Hendricks needed 64 pitches, 39 for strikes, to complete three innings.
Jorge De La Rosa retired the Cubs in order in the third … nine up, nine down for De La Rosa on 34 pitches, 25 for strikes.
The Rockies had a 2-0 lead after three innings.
Corey Dickerson lined out to Denorfia in left to start the fourth. Ben Paulsen singled to right. Walt Weiss called for a hit and run on a 1-0 pitch and Michael McKenry singled to right. Paulsen went to third. Jorge De La Rosa could not get the bunt down and fouled an attempt on a 0-2 pitch for a strikeout. Hendricks walked Blackmon to load the bases with two down.
D.J. LeMahieu pulled a 1-2 pitch from Hendricks into left, Paulsen and McKenry scored … 4-0 Rockies. With Troy Tulowitzki at the plate, the Rockies pulled off a double steal. But Kris Bryant held the tag on Blackmon at third and he came off the bag. Maddon asked for the umps to take another look. The call was overturned, inning over.
Dexter Fowler led off the fourth and he worked a walk … the Cubs’ first baserunner of the game. Kyle Schwarber walked and Bryant stepped in with two on and no outs.
Kris Bryant smoked a 1-0 pitch toward third and past Arenado. The ball ended up in left and Fowler scored, 4-1 Rockies. Anthony Rizzo reached on a bloop single to left center to load the bases. Blackmon dove and had the ball in his glove but it popped out before he could complete the play.
Jorge Soler ripped a 0-2 pitch into right. Schwarber scored, 4-2 Rockies. With the bases loaded and no outs, Chris Denorfia hit a weak grounder to second. Bryant scored as Denorfia was thrown out at first base, 4-3 Rockies.
Starlin Castro stepped in with runners on second and third with one down. Castro ripped a 0-2 pitch into left. Rizzo and Soler scored … and the Cubs took a 5-4 lead. Kyle Hendricks bunted Castro to second base.
Addison Russell doubled into the left field corner. Castro scored, 6-4 Cubs. Weiss decided that was enough for De La Rosa and went to his pen for lefty Christian Friedrich. Fowler grounded out to second for the third out.
At the end of four, the Cubs had a 6-4 lead.
Kyle Hendricks pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning and the Cubs did nothing against Friedrich in the home half.
Hendricks started the sixth with the Cubs leading by a 6-4 score. Corey Dickerson singled to right and Maddon went to the bullpen. Justin Grimm worked around an error by Castro, kept the Rockies off the board and the Cubs added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Tommy Kahnle made his way from the Rockies’ pen for the sixth inning. Jorge Soler flied out to right for the first out. Chris Denorfia reached on what was ruled a single to left. Arenado tried to play the short-hop, missed and the ball ended up in left field. Starlin Castro rolled a 3-2 pitch toward third. Arenado charged and fielded the ball. But his throw to first was low and off the mark. The ball skipped past Paulsen. Denorfia was running on the 3-2 pitch and scored all the way from first base … 7-4 Cubs. Chris Coghlan batted for Justin Grimm and lined a 3-2 pitch toward second. LeMahieu caught the ball and flipped to Tulowitzki. Castro was doubled off second to end the inning.
The Cubs led 7-4 after six innings.
Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon did not allow any runs in the seventh and eighth innings. The Cubs could not add to the lead and Jason Motte made his way to the mound.
Daniel Descalso hit for Rafael Betancourt to start the ninth. Motte could not put away his former Cardinals teammate. And Descalso drove the 10th pitch of the at bat (2-2 count) to deep right center. The ball sailed into the stands and the first pinch-hit homer of Descalso’s career made it a 7-5 game. Blackmon followed with a bloop single to right. D.J. LeMahieu crushed a 3-2 pitch out to right. The ball sailed over Soler’s head and the Rockies had runners on second and third with no outs.
Joe Maddon went to his pen for Rafael Soriano.
Troy Tulowitzki hit a grounder to third. Bryant fielded the ball and threw out Tulowitzki at first as Blackmon scored, 7-6 Cubs. LeMahieu moved up to third on the play.
The Cubs decided to pitch to Carlos Gonzalez and he hit another home run off Cubs’ pitching. Gonzalez launched a 1-1 pitch from Soriano into the bleachers in right … and the Rockies took an 8-7 lead. Soriano struck out Arenado swinging and Dickerson grounded out to Russell to end the inning.
Addison Russell led off the bottom of the ninth with a flyout to center. Dexter Fowler followed with a single to right off John Axford. David Ross flied out to deep left center for the second out.
Kris Bryant tattooed a 1-0 pitch from Axford to deep left center … and Bryant’s 14th longball of the season gave the Cubs a much-needed win.
Dallas Beeler and Yohan Flande square off in game two on Tuesday night (7:05pm CDT).