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The Colorado Rockies traveled to Chicago over the weekend for a three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, winning two of three games. The Rox now sit in second place in the NL West division with a 7-5 record.
Game 1: Rockies 6, Cubs 1
Starting pitcher Chad Bettis looked sharp and the Rockies’ bats came alive late as Colorado took the series opener with ease. Bettis (2-0), earned his second win of the season behind six strong innings on the mound. He walked three and punched out four while allowing no earned runs. Bettis allowed just four hits to the Cubs in the win.
The Rox opened up scoring in the second inning, when first baseman Ben Paulsen hit a line drive to center field, plating third baseman Nolan Arenado. Things would quiet down until the top of the sixth inning, when the Rockies added two more runs, courtesy of an RBIs from outfielders Gerardo Parra and Ryan Raburn. Parra hit a single that plated outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, and Raburn’s RBI groundout allowed Arenado to score from third base.
After Bettis exited after the sixth inning, the Rockies came up to bat again and added another run to make the score 4-0 in the top of the seventh. Brandon Barnes entered the game to pinch hit and singled on a bunt. Cubs’ third baseman Kris Bryant played the ball, but his throwing error allowed catcher Tony Wolters to score from second.
Reliever Chad Qualls took over for the Rox in the bottom of the seventh and allowed the Cubbies’ lone run, as Tommy La Stella grounded into a force out, scoring Jorge Soler.
Wolters and second baseman DJ LeMahieu added insurance runs in the eighth to make the score 6-1 in favor of the Rockies. Justin Miller would take the mound for Colorado in the ninth, and took care of business quickly, striking out the side and closing the book on the Cubs.
The middle of the lineup pulled through for the Rox, as Gonzalez, Arenado, Parra and Raburn went a combined 7-17, scoring four runs.
Game 2: Cubs 6, Rockies 2
The Rockies sent Christian Bergman to the mound to battle Cubs’ ace Jake Arrieta in the second game of the series. Bergman pitched decently, allowing two runs over five innings of work, but took the loss, as Arrieta dominated. He walked just one while fanning seven. His two earned runs came off of solo homers, as Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo got a hold of one in the third and Soler jacked one in the fourth.
Despite the final score, the game remained close until the seventh inning, but the Rockies’ offense was unable to find any answers against Arrieta. He earned his third win of the season behind eight scoreless innings, allowing five hits while striking out eight and walking just one batter.
Once Bergman exited, David Hale took the mound for Colorado and ran into trouble. He pitched one and two-thirds innings and allowed three runs on three hits. He also walked two batters in his appearance. His season ERA is now 16.20.
After Arrieta exited, the Cubs called on Travis Wood to finish the game, but Gonzalez had other things in mind. After shortstop Trevor Story doubled, Gonzalez launched his fourth long ball of the year to make the score 6-2. Pedro Strop would immediately relieve Wood and retired Arenado and Parra, sealing the game for Chicago.
Gonzalez and first baseman Mark Reynolds both went 2-4 in the loss.
Game 3: Rockies 2, Cubs 0
With a series victory at stake, the Rox sent Tyler Chatwood to take on the Cubs’ Jon Lester. Both pitched well, but it was Chatwood who stole the show, allowing just two hits and blanking the Cubs over seven frames. He showed good command, throwing strikes on 63 of his 100 total pitches, and walked one while striking out seven en route to his second win of 2016.
Offensively, it was the Nolan Arenado show, as the Co-NL Player of the Week hit two solo shots, and his fifth and sixth homers of the season, to lift Colorado to victory. He jacked one off Lester in the fourth and then added a late insurance run in the ninth, taking one deep off the Cubs’ Justin Grimm.
Colorado’s bullpen pitched well, as relievers Miguel Castro and Jake McGee allowed just one hit over the final two innings. McGee picked up his third save of the year, and the Rox left Chicago with a series victory.
The Rockies head to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati to take on the Reds for a three-game series starting Monday night.