Suzuki continues to mash as Cubs sweep Rockies
David Banks - USA Today Sports

Suzuki continues to mash as Cubs sweep Rockies

by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO — For the roughly 13000 fans in attendance at Wrigley Field Wednesday, you all deserve a medal or at least some sort of ballpark compensation as the weather was brutal.

That is why the Chicago Cubs (4-2) have the greatest fans, as they will show up and watch this team no matter how poorly they are playing or what the weather is like. Looking to cap off their first home series against the Colorado Rockies (1-6) in style, Craig Counsell faced a tough decision as this was supposed to be Justin Steele's spot in the rotation.

Knowing that Steele will miss a month with a hamstring injury, Counsell will piece together his options as he chose to go with a pair of young arms to start things. Luke Little was tabbed the opener as he continues to impress, but it was Ben Brown who deserved better. Coming off his horrendous MLB debut in Texas, Brown looked like a completely different pitcher as he allowed one run on three hits in four innings with five strikeouts.

He left with the Cubs leading 5-2 and did all he needed to do to qualify for the win, only to have the bullpen blow things late. All wasn't lost, however, as the eighth-inning fielder's choice from Seiya Suzuki brought home Miles Mastrobuoni for the game-winning run, and the Cubs completed the sweep 9-8.

Six games into the season, the Cubs offense has been getting off to hot starts, as they have scored first in every game this season. That continued on Wednesday, as the Cubs not only made Cal Quantrill work but also got to him for four runs in the second to take the 4-0 lead. Singles from Christopher Morel and Dansby Swanson started things that inning with Michael Busch and Miguel Amaya using sacrifice flies to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

Suzuki would tack on a two-run single later in the inning to double the Cubs lead, but he was tagged out between first and second to end the inning.

Like in his first start, Brown wasn't as sharp in his second inning, but this time he found ways to battle tough situations to keep the Rockies' offense in check. The same couldn't be said for Quantrill, who threw nearly 90 pitches in four innings and was forced to work around constant traffic. With the Cubs still leading 4-0 in the fifth, Suzuki connected on his second homer in as many games as he took Jalen Beeks deep for the 5-0 lead in the fifth.

It took six innings for the Rockies to finally break through, and ironically, it wasn't technically against Brown, although he was charged with the run. Jacob Stallings led the top half of the sixth off with a double which brought Counsell to the mound to make a pitching change and called on Mark Leiter Jr. Leiter got off to a great start before a two-out walk kept the inning alive. Kris Bryant followed that up with his first hit of the 2024 season as his RBI single put the Rockies on the board 5-1 before tacking on another run off an error.

Despite controlling things from the start, you never got the sense that the Cubs were comfortable with this lead. With Tyler Kinley on the mound, the Cubs were looking to add some much-needed insurance. Kinley couldn't have had a worse outing, as Michael Busch delivered a leadoff single to get things started while walks to Nico Hoerner and Mike Tauchman loaded the bases. That brought Miguel Amaya to the plate, whose softly hit RBI single extended the Cubs lead to 7-2 while an error on the same play gave the Cubs an 8-2 lead.

Little did anyone know, but that hit was the biggest hit in the ball game as things began to go south in a hurry. With Charlie Blackmon pulling the Rockies to within 8-3 after his seventh-inning RBI double, it was an inning to forget for Yency Almonte and Hector Neris, as neither of them looked good. As if walking the leadoff batter wasn't bad enough, try walking two of the first three to begin the eighth while the Nolan James single mixed in between loaded the bases with no outs.

Sensing momentum was shifting, Counsell called on Neris to put out the fire, but Jake Cave kept the rally going, as the RBI double made things 8-5. Hard-contact was the name of the game for the Rockies in the eighth as the Blackmon single pulled Colorado to within 8-7 while the Ezequiel Tovar tied the game 8-8 with the Cubs coming to bat.

This was a situation where the Cubs would've folded in 2023, but in their first test with their new manager, things just clicked as Mastrobuoni hustled down to first on a missed strike three and gave the Cubs the go-ahead runner on base. Mastrobuoni would move to third on the Ian Happ single before coming home on the Suzuki fielder's choice to put the Cubs in front 9-8.

Chicago was unable to do anything else with the runners on base, but they still led by a run with Adbert Alzolay set to lock things down. It wasn't a great start to the inning for Alzolay as Bryant started things off with a single, putting the tying runner on base. That is all Alzolay needed to buckle down as he would strike out the next two before getting the game-ending ground as the Cubs completed the sweep of Colorado 9-8.

Suzuki and Busch each had three-hit games for the Cubs, with Suzuki leading the way with four RBIs. Amaya added three RBIs of his own, as those two were responsible for seven of the Cubs runs in the win.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Dustin Riese: Email | Comment
Post your comments!