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Red-hot Rox hold off Cubs for 6th straight win

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon didn't have the friendliest of welcomes lined up for Cubs rookie Seth Frankoff. Rather, he introduced himself to the right-hander with a go-ahead two-run homer to right to lift the Rockies to a 5-3 win over the Cubs on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field and move them 17 games above .500.

Blackmon, whose fifth-inning homer gave Colorado a 4-2 lead, wasn't the only Rox slugger to go yard on Friday. Facing an early 2-0 deficit, Ryan Hanigan hit a two-run shot of his own to the bleachers in left for just his second home run of the year. The blast traveled an estimated 378 feet and left the bat with an exit velocity of 98 mph, according to Statcast™.

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CHICAGO -- Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon didn't have the friendliest of welcomes lined up for Cubs rookie Seth Frankoff. Rather, he introduced himself to the right-hander with a go-ahead two-run homer to right to lift the Rockies to a 5-3 win over the Cubs on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field and move them 17 games above .500.

Blackmon, whose fifth-inning homer gave Colorado a 4-2 lead, wasn't the only Rox slugger to go yard on Friday. Facing an early 2-0 deficit, Ryan Hanigan hit a two-run shot of his own to the bleachers in left for just his second home run of the year. The blast traveled an estimated 378 feet and left the bat with an exit velocity of 98 mph, according to Statcast™.

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Video: COL@CHC: Hanigan cranks two-run homer to left

"Charlie's been playing great, so when he does something like that, it doesn't surprise me," Rockies manager Bud Black said of Blackmon, who moved into the team RBI lead with 52 -- one more than Mark Reynolds. "He's got the ability to homer. He's got the ability to drive in runs. He uses the whole field."

The Cubs' offense came to life in the first inning, plating two runs after a questionable call on a walk to Anthony Rizzo extended the inning. However, filling in for the injured Kyle Hendricks, starter Mike Montgomery lasted only four innings and gave up two runs on three hits and three walks, while Frankoff and Carl Edwards Jr. allowed three more runners to score. The run surrendered by Edwards was the first he had allowed since May 12.

Video: COL@CHC: Rizzo thinks he strikes out, ball called

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he was generally OK with his pitching staff, but he was less pleased with the team's situational hitting. The Cubs tallied nine walks and were hit by a pitch twice, yet managed only three hits and left a total of 11 runners on base.

"I thought it was a very interesting game from our perspective," Maddon said. "They hit some homers, again, and they got around 10 hits or so. We made our noise by walking and getting hit by a pitch."

Colorado's bullpen, conversely, was sensational, allowing just one hit over six innings of one-run ball. Greg Holland capped the effort -- after walking the bases loaded in the ninth -- with his 23rd save in as many chances, just three shy of Huston Street's club record established in 2009.

Video: COL@CHC: Holland escapes jam in 9th to secure win

"I wish I would've came through in that at-bat right there," said Jason Heyward, who struck out to end the game. "Did a good job against the closer with the bases loaded. Got a couple shots to get something in. Wish it would've ended different."

The Rockies, who are 40-23, finished 2009 at 92-70, when they won the NL Wild Card spot. They also finished 17 games over .500 in 2007 -- when they defeated the Padres in the 163rd game of that season to finish 90-73 and qualify for a postseason that saw them advance to the World Series.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
No harm, no foul: The Cubs had a chance to break open the game in the third after Kris Bryant and Rizzo led off the inning with walks and Heyward reached on catcher's interference to load the bases. However, Rockies starter German Marquez buckled down, striking out Javier Baez and forcing Miguel Montero to fly out deep to left. Of the eight Cubs to reach base off Marquez, only two did so by getting a hit.

"We saw 180-and-some pitches today and scored three runs. That's nearly impossible," Maddon said. "That just speaks to that we do have to do a better job with hitting with runners on base and runners in scoring position."

Marquez left after 80 pitches in three innings. At times, he bristled at plate umpire Dan Bellino's strike zone, but escaped with two runs (one earned). He said his right thumb, suffered when hit by a batted ball in his last start, didn't give him trouble.

"It was kind of a tough day; a battle all day," Marquez said. "Sometimes I got frustrated because a couple pitches could have been strikes, but I just resolved myself and kept myself in the game."

Video: COL@CHC: Marquez retires Montero to strand 'em loaded

How about one more? While the Rockies' bullpen has been stellar protecting leads in late innings this year, the offense still went ahead and tacked on an insurance run against Edwards. After Raimel Tapia was hit by a pitch on his foot to lead off the seventh, he stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. Down to the final out of the inning, Nolan Arenado came through with a big RBI single, knocking the ball over the head of Baez at shortstop and into left field to give the Rockies a 5-3 lead.

"Another big run was the add-on they made with the stolen base, ball in the outfield," Maddon said. "A good piece of hitting by Arenado, but at the end of the day … we've seen this happen too often where we've seen a lot of pitches and not make the adjustment with runners in scoring position. That's the next challenge for us."

Video: COL@CHC: Arenado pokes an RBI single to left

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With one on and nobody out and Colorado ahead, 4-3, in the top of the sixth, Rockies slugger Trevor Story smoked a low 86-mph changeup off Frankoff deep to left, but the ball hooked foul. Colorado manager Bud Black would talk to the umpires, eventually leading to a crew-chief review of the play, but the call on the field was confirmed.

Video: COL@CHC: Review confirms Story's foul in the 6th

The crew would also review a play in the eighth inning, as Contreras appeared to catch Ian Desmond stealing with two out to end the frame. After a quick review, the call was upheld and the inning was over.

WHAT'S NEXT
Rockies: Right-hander Jeff Hoffman (3-0, 2.61 ERA) has made three spot starts. After the first two, he was optioned back to Triple-A Albuquerque. But after his last one, a win at San Diego on Sunday, Hoffman got to stay around. He'll face the Cubs on Saturday at 12:20 p.m. MT at Wrigley Field.

Cubs: Right-hander Eddie Butler will get the ball for Game 3 of the series, with first pitch at Wrigley Field slated for 1:20 p.m. CT. Butler, who pitched for the Rockies from 2014-16, has fared well at Wrigley Field this season, going 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in three starts.

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Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.