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Rockies rally but fall short in Windy Cityfinish road trip 1-6

The Colorado Rockies made a late-inning comeback but fell just short as they fell to 1-6 on the season, losing 9-8 in the rain to the Chicago Cubs (4-2) who completed the three-game sweep.

In the midst of cold, rainy and miserable weather, the issues of pitching, hitting, and defense continue to plague the Rockies. Cal Quantrill, making his second start of the year, managed to escape the first inning without allowing a run, just the second time a Rockies starter had done so. The Cubs would quickly get to work in the bottom of the second putting up four innings and eventually chasing Quantrill after the fourth inning.

On the night, Quantrill allowed four runs on four hits and had three strikeouts, but continued to battle his command and a tight strike zone. He threw 90 pitches, 57 for strikes, but allowed four walks continuing a worrying trend for Rockies pitching where walks are plentiful and strikeouts near obsolete.

After back-to-back singles in the second inning by Christopher Morel and Dansby Swanson, Michael Busch lofted a sacrifice fly to score the first run of the game. It extended a trend of 13 consecutive games for the Rockies dating back to 2023 where they have failed to score first and remain the only team to not score first in all of MLB this season. Nico Hoerner and Mike Tauchman drew back-to-back walks to load the bases for Miguel Amaya’s sac fly to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Ian Happ would walk to load the bases again to set up a two-run single by Seiya Suzuki who would get tagged out to end the inning after rounding first base too far.

Suzuki would get another chance to do damage in the fifth when he belted a solo home run off of reliever Jalen Beeks for his second of the year and gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead in the pouring rain.

The Rockies offense once again had few answers for the Cubs pitching staff early on in the game. The Cubs utilized Luke Little to serve as the opener since Justin Steele is on the injured list, and he pitched the first inning before giving way to Ben Brown for the bulk of work.

Brown entered the game with a 32.40 ERA after his first appearance of the season against the Texas Rangers. The former top Phillies prospect proceeded to dominate in his first outing at Wrigley Field, allowing just one run on three hits over four innings and striking out five while issuing one walk.

The Rockies would rally for a pair of runs in the sixth inning after Jacob Stallings started things off with a double. With two outs and Stallings on third, after Charlie Blackmon grounded out and Ezequiel Tovar popped out on the infield, Ryan McMahon would walk to put runners on the corners. Kris Bryant then did the unthinkable and hit a single to left field for his first hit of the year to drive in the Rockies’ first run and make it a 5-2 ballgame. Bryant’s hit snapped a 0-for-28 streak dating back to 2023, including the 0-for-18 hitless streak with 10 strikeouts to begin the 2024 season.

The Cubs would quickly answer back in the bottom half of the frame after loading the bases against Tyler Kinley upon which Amaya singled to center field. Gold Glover Brenton Doyle tried to throw a run out at the plate but the ball sailed offline and got past Kinley trying to back up the throw, allowing a third run to score and give the Cubs an 8-3 lead.

The Rockies then continued to threaten in the seventh, settling for just one run, but they would make it a whole new ballgame in the eighth inning. Bryant led the inning off with a walk, followed by a Jones single and would later load the bases on a Doyle single. Veteran Jake Cave then delivered a crucial two-run pinch-hit double to give the Rockies the big hit they’ve been looking for. Blackmon then delivered a two-out, two-run single to make it a one-run game before scoring on a Tovar double to tie the game at 8-8.


Unfortunately, the momentum was short-lived in the game as the Cubs manufactured a single run in the bottom of the eighth against Nick Mears. Miles Mastrobuoni managed to reach first base after a wild pitch strikeout got past Stallings. A single from Happ pushed him to third and the Rockies had a chance to get the out at home when Suzuki hit a grounder to third. McMahon fired the ball home to beat the runner, but Stallings was unable to secure the ball, allowing the run to score and give the Cubs a 9-8 score that would decide the game.

The rallies for the Rockies were a welcome sight, but there are still issues plaguing the offense. The team struck out 12 times and drew just four walks while going 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Still, Bryant went 2-for-4 in the game while Blackmon had another three-hit night and drove in a pair of runs and has yet to strike out this season.

Walks continue to be an issue for the pitching staff as they coughed up seven walks against seven strikeouts. The starting pitching has to get better moving forward as the bullpen is already starting to show signs of overuse.

On the Cubs’ end of things, Busch and Suzuki both had three-hit nights, with the latter driving in four runs. Amaya also had three RBI on the night.

The loss concludes a difficult road trip where the Rockies saw their run differential sit around -30 and pitching struggled immensely, but the team hopes to carry the offensive momentum of this game into their first homestand.

“It was a tough trip,” manager Bud Black said, “we didn’t pitch great, we didn’t swing the bats great. That [game] was a good sign though, KB with a couple of hits, Jones had a hit. Charlie continues to get his hits and Tovar with a big double late should build his confidence. The growth moments of what we’re learning, the younger players, it’s not easy. These were tough conditions for everyone… our guys kept fighting. We didn’t melt when we got behind. A sign of things to come offensively.”

Up Next

The Rockies have the day off on Thursday as they prepare to host the Tampa Bay Rays at Coors Field for the home opener. Austin Gomber (0-0, 7.71 ERA) will take the ball for Colorado, looking to set the tone at home for the Rockies against a tough Rays lineup. He’ll face off against Zack Littell (1-0, 0.00 ERA) who tossed six shutout innings in his first start of the year.




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