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Holland's high-wire act caps stellar 'pen effort

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

CHICAGO -- Rockies closer Greg Holland loves a screaming crowd. He just would rather not have caused all the excitement at Wrigley Field on Friday by walking the bases loaded with one out in the ninth inning.

Of course, it all turned out right, as it has with all 23 of his save chances. Holland extracted a first-pitch fly ball from Ben Zobrist, then enticed Jason Heyward to swing over a slider to lock up a 5-3 victory over the Cubs -- and complete a stellar six-inning, one-hit effort from the Rockies' bullpen.

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CHICAGO -- Rockies closer Greg Holland loves a screaming crowd. He just would rather not have caused all the excitement at Wrigley Field on Friday by walking the bases loaded with one out in the ninth inning.

Of course, it all turned out right, as it has with all 23 of his save chances. Holland extracted a first-pitch fly ball from Ben Zobrist, then enticed Jason Heyward to swing over a slider to lock up a 5-3 victory over the Cubs -- and complete a stellar six-inning, one-hit effort from the Rockies' bullpen.

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"It got pretty loud," said Holland, a key reason the Rockies are 36-1 when leading after six innings, and 38-0 ahead after seven. "That was nice. I enjoyed that. But I wish it would've been at home. That would've meant good things were happening, instead of bad things."

Holland fanned Kyle Schwarber before walking Ian Happ, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in succession. Happ's walk was four pitches, Bryant took a close slider at 3-2 and Rizzo watched a slider miss. Holland was taking a tour of the Cubs' best hitters.

"Well, when you walk three, you're going to face most of their lineup," Holland said. "It's just one of those things. They've got a good lineup. You've just got to execute pitches."

"I was never worried," said catcher Ryan Hanigan. "Obviously, he threw a nice heater to Zobrist away, and then some nice breaking balls to Heyward.

"He pitched out of jams. It's not always going to be smooth sailing."

Until Holland executed when it mattered the most, the rest of the bullpen simply shut down the Cubs after starter German Marquez was pushed to 80 pitches in three innings and left with the game tied at 2.

Lefty Chris Rusin, who can pitch early or late, gave up one run on one hit in two innings before turning it over to relievers who have had their triumphs and struggles.

Lefty Mike Dunn had a dominant Spring Training and began the regular season with nine scoreless innings before back spasms pushed him to the disabled list and robbed him of consistency. But Friday, after a sixth-inning leadoff walk, Dunn -- who seems to be regaining form -- completed his second straight scoreless outing for the first time since May 14 and 18.

Righty Scott Oberg, who took on heavy run totals in lopsided games and became a popular target of fan derision, struck out two in his second perfect effort against the Cubs in as many days.

Primary righty setup man Adam Ottavino, activated from the 10-day DL before the game, hit Heyward to open the eighth but escaped the frame with two strikeouts and a groundout.

"All those guys did their job," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "That's what they expect of themselves."

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.

Colorado Rockies