DENVER -- Ryan Hanigan's two-out bloop single in the third inning signaled Tuesday afternoon would be that kind of day for the Rockies -- and for Cubs pitcher Jacob Arrieta. The Rockies bested Arrieta for nine runs (five earned) in 3 2/3 innings of a 10-4 victory in the opener
DENVER -- Ryan Hanigan's two-out bloop single in the third inning signaled Tuesday afternoon would be that kind of day for the Rockies -- and for Cubs pitcher Jacob Arrieta. The Rockies bested Arrieta for nine runs (five earned) in 3 2/3 innings of a 10-4 victory in the opener of a split doubleheader at Coors Field.
Hanigan's single, which eluded the glove of sliding left fielder Kyle Schwarber, was part of a six-run third that included Charlie Blackmon's triple and DJ LeMahieu's double, and saw the Rockies take 10 turns at the plate. The National League West-leading Rockies matched their season high with 15 hits while winning their fifth in the last six games and seventh in the last 10.
Hanigan, a veteran who joined the Rockies last week from Triple-A Albuquerque, acknowledged the role of luck.
"I didn't get it like I wanted to, but, hey, I'll take it any day," Hanigan said. "Soon as I hit it, I thought it was an out."
Hanigan noted that Schwarber was disadvantaged because he had to play deep -- a necessary evil for most outfielders at Coors. But the field wasn't the whole story.
"They hit some balls really well, others they dropped it in front [of the outfielder]," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "You have to play such a big outfield here, it's so large. They just have good at-bats. They're really good offensively."
About the best that be could said for Arrieta (4-2), who yielded nine hits, was it wasn't as bad as his last Coors start, when he gave up 13 hits and nine earned runs on Aug. 6, 2014.
"They've got one of the better offenses in all of baseball, especially at Coors Field," Arrieta said. "They hit for a significantly higher average here. That's just a testament to their ability to play to their home park and have a good approach. I wanted to come into this game and establish strikes with all my pitches. I did it pretty well -- almost too well with too many hittable pitches, really."
Mark Reynolds went 3-for-4 and clubbed his 12th home run -- just two fewer than he managed last year in 118 games.
Meanwhile, "The Little Prince," Antonio Senzatela (5-1), a rookie right-hander, held the Cubs to two runs and five hits, struck out four and walked three in six innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ascending: After the Rockies' six-run third, Senzatela found himself facing loaded bases and no outs in the fourth. Lefty Chris Rusin was already warming up. But Senzatela forced an Albert Almora Jr. pop to second base, got one out and nearly two on Schwarber's RBI grounder, and worked Kristopher Bryant into a fly to right to escape the jam having allowed just one run. Rusin didn't enter until the seventh.
Senzatela managed a less-than-ideal 57.6 percent strike rate, but his final two innings were his best.
"Learning this fellow and knowing what our Minor League people say about the intangibles of competitiveness -- when in the game he has to step it up, when he has to make a pitch, when he has to throw a little harder or land a curveball, he sort of gets it," Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Story taking a turn: The Cubs were down, 3-1, with two outs in the third and Arrieta got away with a pitch in the middle of the plate that Trevor Story fouled off. However, Story rebounded from a 1-2 count to walk, bringing up Hanigan for his three-run blooper that blew the game open. Story, who entered with a .173 batting average, went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
"That's special because he's a good guy, a big guy, and he won the Cy Young two years ago."
-- Senzatela, on the victory over the Cubs, opposite Arrieta
"We're all focused on hitting, but I want us to play defense and pitch. … Our guys are good, we're going to start making those plays. Those are the kind of plays that we normally do make that we're not. Sometimes it's not an error, but it's a play that we normally make that we're not."
-- Maddon, on the four unearned runs and the need for the defense to elevate its play
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Reynolds tied a personal best by hitting a homer in his fourth straight game. He accomplished the feat Aug. 6-9, 2009, with the D-backs.
FLORO STRONG IN DEBUT
Dylan Floro gave the Cubs exactly what they needed in his debut with the Cubs, throwing 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball to spare the 'pen in the doubleheader.
"One bright spot, Dylan came in and pitched very well," Arrieta said. "Enabling us to only use two pitchers moving into the second game of a doubleheader was huge."
Floro was called up Monday when Jason Heyward went on the disabled list with a sprained finger on his right hand.
"He got a lot of swings and misses," Maddon said. "He was outstanding today. Second game tonight we should be in good shape regarding our pitching."
Gonzalez covered 39.4 feet in 2.9 seconds to rob a Javier Baez liner in the sixth inning on a diving catch that registered with just a five percent catch probability, according to Statcast™ -- the lowest probability of any outfield catch this season.
"It was harder because it was do or die," Gonzalez said. "You can't hesitate on those plays. As soon as you go for it, you've got to go for it because if you think twice, it's going to hit the ground; those low line drives. So I was going for it since the beginning. If I wasn't going to make the catch, at least I wanted to keep it up front and avoid the extra base. It was just a good play."
A LITTLE PAIN, A LOT OF GAIN
Senzatela, while leading off the third inning, smashed a foul ball into the right hip of Blackmon, who was in the on-deck circle. Blackmon drew a few laughs by backing away so he would be protected by the backstop. Well, after Senzatela struck out, Blackmon promptly lined a triple -- his fifth this season -- to begin the big inning.
Cubs:John Lackey is 2-2 against Colorado in his career, but Rockies hitters tend to get the best of him, running his ERA to 6.25. He's got some demons to exorcise at Coors Field, where he has allowed 17 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings for a 9.18 ERA..
Rockies: Rookie lefty Kyle Freeland (3-1, 2.65 ERA) will start the nightcap at 6:40 p.m. MT. Freeland pitched well in his last start -- 6 1/3 innings, three hits, one run against the Padres -- by forcing quick decisions early in at-bats, which kept his pitch count under control.
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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Cubs on Tuesday.