Chicago – The Colorado Rockies arrived at Wrigley Field this week with a chance to solidify their standing as a National League contender, and they haven’t missed a beat.
Of course, these Chicago Cubs look a long way from their World Series-winning form.
Mark Reynolds and Charlie Blackmon homered, rookie Jeff Hoffman pitched neatly into the seventh inning and the Rockies won their seventh straight game, beating the Cubs 9-1 Saturday. Colorado can complete a four-game sweep of the reigning champs Sunday behind breakout rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela.
“These guys are growing before our eyes, and it’s great stuff and good to see,” manager Bud Black said. “Charlie’s having a big series. Mark had a big day today. A lot of contributors today.”
The Rockies have their longest winning streak since 2011, when they started a run of six straight losing seasons. The Cubs lost their fourth in a row, dropping them to 30-31.
Reynolds had his fourth career four-hit game, including his 17th homer, and Nolan Arenado had a three-run double during a five-run ninth inning. The Rockies, who have the best record in the NL, improved to 24-10 on the road.
One of four rookies in the Rockies’ rotation, the 24-year-old Hoffman (4-0) allowed one run and struck out eight in 6⅓ innings. Four Colorado relievers kept Chicago scoreless the rest of the way.
“It was awesome,” Hoffman said of his first start at Wrigley Field. “Facing a great lineup and to be able to go out there and do what I did and execute — and the team to play the way it did — was special.”
Cubs starter Eddie Butler (3-2) pitched five innings and gave up three runs and six hits in his first outing against his former team. Willson Contreras drove in the only run for Chicago, now sliding after a five-game winning streak.
“We just have to do a better job at the plate,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I don’t have any strong explanation for it, but a lot of guys are struggling badly at the same time.”
Reigning MVP Kris Bryant joined the Cubs in 2015 and isn’t used to losing.
“This is probably, I guess, the lowest point that I’ve been at here,” Bryant said. “But it’s really not bad when you look at in context of the division.”
Pirates 7, Marlins 6
In Pittsburgh, Ichiro Suzuki had a base hit for the second straight game as an emergency replacement for Giancarlo Stanton.
Ichiro was called into action in the first inning, when Stanton was hit by a pitch on the right wrist and had to leave the game. Ichiro ran for Stanton and scored in the inning after being driven home by Marcell Ozuna.
In the third, Ichiro reached on an infield single for his lone hit of the day in four at-bats, but was caught stealing second trying to swipe his first base of the season.
The 43-year-old outfielder could see more playing time over the next several days after the Marlins listed Stanton as day to day. The team said X-rays came back negative, and that Stanton is dealing with a bruised right wrist.
Yankees 16, Orioles 3
In New York, rookie Aaron Judge hit his major league-leading 19th home run and the Yankees connected five times in all, battering Chris Tillman and Baltimore for its fourth straight win.
Mets 6, Braves 1 (1st)
Mets 8, Braves 1 (2nd)
In Atlanta, Steven Matz pitched seven impressive innings in his season debut, Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer and New York beat the Braves to sweep a doubleheader.
Red Sox 11, Tigers 3
In Boston, Chris Sale outlasted Detroit’s Justin Verlander to win his seventh straight decision in a matchup of big-name pitchers.
Dodgers 5, Reds 4
In Los Angeles, Corey Seager delivered a run-scoring double in the bottom of the ninth to allow the Dodgers to overcome a three-run homer from Devin Mesoraco and earn a victory over Cincinnati.
Rangers 6, Nationals 3 (11)
In Washington, Robinson Chirinos nearly put Texas ahead during a ninth-inning rally that tied it, then hit a three-run homer in the 11th.
Astros 3, Angels 1
In Houston, Mike Fiers had another solid start and Brian McCann homered.
Rays 6, Athletics 5 (10) (1st)
Athletics 7, Rays 2 (2nd)
In St. Petersburg, Florida, Sean Manaea won his fifth consecutive start to help Oakland split a rare scheduled doubleheader with Tampa Bay.
White Sox 5, Indians 3
In Cleveland, David Holmberg allowed two runs in five innings for his first win in two years, and Jose Abreu had an RBI single in a three-run first.
Blue Jays 4, Mariners 2
In Seattle, Ezequiel Carrera led off the eighth inning with his fifth homer of the season to break a 2-all tie, Kendrys Morales and Justin Smoak each added long balls and Toronto beat the Mariners.
Cardinals 7, Phillies 0
In St. Louis, Carlos Martinez struck out 11 in a complete-game shutout.
Diamondbacks 3, Brewers 2
In Phoenix, Zack Godley allowed two hits over 6⅔ innings, Brandon Drury hit the go-ahead two-run home run and Arizona beat Milwaukee.
Twins 3, Giants 2
In San Francisco, Brian Dozier and Kennys Vargas hit home runs, leading Jose Berrios and Minnesota over the Giants.
Royals 12, Padres 6
In San Diego, Lorenzo Cain hit two homers, including a grand slam that capped a nine-run rally in the eighth.