Cubs conquer Rockies by way of five-run second inning
|Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 11:49 PM- -|
DENVER -- The Chicago Cubs put an end to a four-game losing streak in glorious fashion on Tuesday night, capping off a a doubleheader with a dominant victory over the Colorado Rockies. Using a five-run second inning to their advantage, the Cubs were able to coast to an 8-1 win after being crushed 10-4 earlier in the day. With starting pitcher John Lackey getting the nod on the mound for the North Siders, Lackey received some early run support for the first time in quite a while, as the Cubs fired on all cylinders from the get-go en route to conquering the Rockies.
The aforementioned second-inning success for Chicago was sparked by perhaps the unlikeliest of candidates. Making his 2017 big league debut, Jeimer Candelario started at third base tonight for the Cubs and led off the top of the third with a single to right. Taking advantage of an MLB rule that allows teams that are taking part in a doubleheader to add an extra player to the roster, the Cubs called up top-tier prospect Candelario earlier in the day and opted to give him some starting experience, too.
Candelario, who went 1-4 at the plate with one run and one RBI, benefited from a Colorado error prior to crossing the plate for the Cubs' first run of the game. On what should have been a double-play grounder in the at-bat following Candelario's hit, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story sent his throw into the outfield and put runners on the corners with no outs. Later in the inning, Candelario was scored by none other than Lackey, who accrued his first RBI of the season by hitting a bloop single to shallow right-center that drove Candelario home and put the Cubs up 1-0.
Thereafter, another defensive miscue by the Rockies worked in the Cubs' favor, as a series of blunders on an infield single by Cubs center fielder Albert Almora resulted in the Cubs going up 2-0. Almora's hard-hit single toward second base was deflected by Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds, leading to second baseman DJ LeMahieu forcing an errant throw. Coming after Cubs shortstop Addison Russell scored on Almora's single, the error, LeMahieu's third of the season, allowed Chicago catcher Willson Contreras to follow Russell home and provide the Cubbies with a commanding 3-0 lead.
Later in the inning, after a walk loaded the bases, third baseman Kris Bryant added to the Cubs' lead with an RBI single to left-center that brought Lackey home safely. Two at-bats after that, Candelario stepped up to the plate again and was fruitful once more, drawing a walk that put the Cubs up 5-0.
From there, the Cubs held onto their lead very tightly, as Colorado garnered only six hits for the entire game. Lackey, who has now won three consecutive starts after losing three straight, was spectacular, striking out 10 batters and walking merely two. Pitching seven complete innings on the hill, Lackey was flawless in earning the win and moving to 3-3 overall.
As for the Rockies' pitching, starter Kyle Freeland was decent, giving up four hits and striking out six in six innings pitched. However, the costly errors plagued his outing and culminated in Freeland, who allowed three earned runs to score, being handed the loss to drop him to 3-2 on the season.
Chicago's lead was padded in the top half of the eighth when second baseman Javier Baez hit a two-run, opposite-field home run off of reliever Mike Dunn that put the game virtually out of reach for the Rockies. Scoring Russell, who was walked in the previous at-bat, Baez's jack to right, which was his fourth round-tripper this month, made the score 7-0 in favor of the Cubs. Baez clearly appreciates the thin air at Coors Field, as four of his six career hits there are of the home run variety.
Javy's 4th home run of May. pic.twitter.com/t8CuHoL1Cy— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 10, 2017
Finishing with eight hits to match their eight runs, the Cubs made the most of their scoring opportunities, cashing in on Colorado's two errors and continuing to produce at the plate in the later innings. A misplayed fly ball in the eighth by Chicago outfielder Jon Jay ultimately prevented the Cubs from earning a shutout, with Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado reaching second base on the play and later scoring on a single to right by left fielder Ian Desmond. But the Cubs maintained their Rocky Mountain high in the ensuing inning, as Bryant smacked a solo homer to right, his seventh long ball of the year.
With the 8-1 win over the Rockies (21-13) in the nightcap of the doubleheader, the Cubs (17-16) redeemed themselves from their afternoon defeat and put their recent losing woes behind them. Led by Bryant and his 2-4, two-RBI performance at the dish tonight, the North Siders looked the part of the defending world champions by trumping the upstart Rockies on the road. The rubber match of the three-game series will commence tomorrow afternoon at Coors Field, with the first pitch slated for 1:10 PM MST.
Just what the doctor ordered! pic.twitter.com/ypkKly2kld— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 10, 2017
Javier Baez has six career hits at Coors Field. Four of them are home runs. Safe to say Javy loves that thin Rocky Mountain air. pic.twitter.com/l9qtMq7yOC— CubsHQ.com (@ChicagoCubsHQ) May 10, 2017