BREAKING

Smyly, Suzuki continue to impress as Cubs finish off Rockies


by - Senior Writer -
Isaiah Downing - USA Today Sports
Isaiah Downing - USA Today Sports

DENVER - It wasn't pretty, nor was it easy, but the Chicago Cubs (5-4) finished their six-game trip with a .500 mark. They accomplished that feat by knocking off the Colorado Rockies (6-3) 6-4 on Sunday after letting a pair of leads getaway earlier in the series.

When you look at things and how the season has gone thus far, this Cubs team could easily be 8-1 as they have scored first in all but one game. Had it not been for a pair of big innings by the Rockies in this series, you could be looking at a series sweep instead of the split. That is something the Cubs will be talking about, but they have to like the position they remain in.

Now two times through the rotation, one thing immediately jumps out, which has been the lefties pitching way better than the righties. Drew Smyly is one of those lefties as he has been the best of the starters so far. After dealing five shutout innings in his first start, Smyly returned to the hill and gave the Cubs 4 2/3 scoreless innings, adding four punchouts to his line.

He didn't pitch long enough to qualify for the win, but you have to like how he has gone about things thus far. Opposing him was the former St. Louis Cardinal Austin Gomber, who didn't fare well. Not only did Gomber last just 4 1/3 innings, but he battled with command issues all start long, which saw him put his team in an early hole they couldn't recover from.

Like they have done most of the season, the Cubs struck first when Willson Contreras took Gomber deep in the first inning to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

That proved more than enough in the early going as Smyly was shutting down the Rockies offense while Gomber was laboring. Even after allowing a leadoff double to Connor Joe and a Kris Bryant walk to open his outing, Smyly made the pitches necessary for his team to keep in front.

The Cubs continued to keep the pressure on in the second inning as a pair of walks mixed in with the Patrick Wisdom double had the bases loaded with no outs. Wisdom has gotten into a groove this series, and hopefully, that can carry over. Still, with no one out, Nico Hoerner came through with the Cubs second double of the inning, extending the lead to 3-0.

One inning later, the same results for Chicago with Nick Madrigal doubling with one out and then coming home on the Frank Schwindel single. Madrigal had his best game of the season, recording three hits as he seems to be getting back to his old self. That big early lead for the Cubs appeared to be plenty at this point as they wasted another scoring chance in the top of the fourth.

Despite letting a scoring chance getaway in the fourth, the Cubs wouldn't let that happen again, using a Madrigal single, fielders choice, and a walk to load the bases yet again. Yan Gomes extended the lead to 5-0 with his RBI single, and everything was clicking for the Cubs.

Despite cruising through five innings, Smyly ran into some trouble in the fifth, allowing a pair of hits before David Ross went to get him in favor of Scott Effross. Although Effross did his job, it would have been nice to see Smyly get the win. Still on the mound to begin the sixth, Bryant greeted Effross with his fourth double of the season before trotting home on the Elias Diaz single to make things 5-1.

This was when things got interesting, with Michael Rucker taking over for Effross and immediately allowing a two-run shot to Ryan McMahon to close the gap to 5-3. Moving to the top of the seventh and the Cubs got one of those runs back, with Seiya Suzuki taking one the opposite way to make things 6-3.

Although that was the final run the Cubs would score, it was enough for them as the back end of the pen took care of business. With Bryant picking up a sacrifice fly in the seventh to pull the Rockies back within 6-4, Rowan Wick was on to pitch the eighth inning.

Unlike his previous outings, where he struggled to find the zone at some points, Wick got back to his 2021 self striking out a pair and sending the game to the ninth. Even with the Cubs failing to put another run across in the eighth and ninth innings, they felt good despite that uneasy feeling.

David Robertson was looking to secure his third save of the season as he was summoned to pitch the ninth. Not only did Robertson retire the side in order with a strikeout, but he needed just eight pitches to do so, lifting the Cubs to the 6-4 win.

Madrigal led the way on offense with three hits while Gomes and Hoerner added two. Michael Hermosillo was the lone starter who didn't record a hit.

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