Rox bat around in 1st, hold on to top Cubs
CHICAGO -- DJ LeMahieu had three hits, including an RBI double and a triple, and Nolan Arenado smacked a two-run double to power the Rockies to a 7-2 victory over the Cubs on Tuesday night and even the series at one win apiece.
This was the Rockies' first game after Troy Tulowitzki was traded to the Blue Jays, and they got off to a quick start, sending all nine batters to the plate in the first inning and scoring four runs against Chicago right-hander Dallas Beeler.
"Everyone was just excited to play baseball again and take our minds off what's been going on," LeMahieu said.
Colorado left-hander Yohan Flande finally got a win, doing so in the 24th game of his career and 11th start (first this season).
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Look ahead, not back: Tulowitzki gave the Rockies 10 stellar seasons, and many players were in shock when they learned he had been traded to the Blue Jays, but they moved ahead immediately. Charlie Blackmon, LeMahieu and Arenado each doubled, with LeMahieu's driving in one run and Arenado's scoring two.
"We've played some of our best games after some of our toughest nights," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We talked before the game today, and I had a good feeling our guys would play a nice bounceback game. And that's exactly what we did."
Punchless at the plate: Chris Coghlan hit his third career pinch-hit home run with one out in the Cubs' seventh, his 11th homer of the season, but the Cubs sputtered offensively otherwise and now are batting .207 in their last nine games at home. Manager Joe Maddon pulled Starlin Castro in a double-switch for the second straight game, partly because of the shortstop's struggles. Castro, who has been mentioned in trade rumors, is batting .237.
"I think it's great the conjecture occurs now. I think it's good for the game," Maddon said. "It's tough for Starlin if his name is mentioned that often. That's where it becomes difficult for the guy whose name is being bandied about."
On deadline: The Cubs are looking for a fifth starter, and Beeler was considered an option, but he served up four runs in the first and was pulled with one out in the second after he walked LeMahieu. The Cubs are reportedly in the market for a starter prior to Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, and Beeler's ineffectiveness in his three starts may prompt the front office to make a few more phone calls.
One option could be Travis Wood, who struck out six over 3 2/3 innings in relief of Beeler, but Maddon likes the lefty in the 'pen.
"There's no denying [Wood] could be a consideration," Maddon said. "I'd prefer that he would not be. You have to consider that it may happen, yes."
Filling the spot: At 6-foot-3, Tulowitzki can reach balls that many shortstops can't, but Daniel Descalso -- generously listed at 5-foot-10 -- showed that one doesn't have to be tall to make plays. With the Rockies leading, 6-2, in the seventh -- and with the Cubs threatening with two out and two on -- Kris Bryant lined a Boone Logan pitch toward left field, but Descalso made a leaping grab.
"Tulowitzki would not have had to jump for that ball," Maddon said.
"He's a pro," Weiss said of Descalso, who tripled in a run and has an RBI in each of his last four games. "He's a veteran. He's played in big games. It's one of the reasons why we went and got him this winter. ... He's always ready."
Cubs reliever Neil Ramirez, sidelined from April 17 to June 28 with inflammation in his right shoulder, was not available on Tuesday. He has not pitched since Saturday, and has appeared in just 13 games this season.
"He was not OK tonight, that's why I could not use him," said Maddon, who expected more information on Wednesday.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Chicago's Dexter Fowler has reached base in each of his last 12 games, and is 16-for-43 in that stretch. Tuesday was his fourth three-hit game of the season.
"Just getting drafted by them, making my debut with them, it's something I'll always remember. And getting traded, obviously, is something I'll always remember. I like coming back here and playing against them." -- LeMahieu, a second-round pick of the Cubs in 2009 who was traded to the Rockies before the 2012 season and has pounded his former club, with a .364 batting average in 20 career games
"We had a tough first inning that really set up the game negatively for us. They were on the emotional side, having lost the face of their franchise. We have to do better. We have to. It's not about what everybody else is doing, it's about what we're doing, taking care of our own business. We have so much more offensive potential than we've shown. We have to pull it out of the guys." -- Maddon
Rockies: Righty Eddie Butler has shown an increased savvy and a more controlled delivery in two starts (one erased statistically because of a rainout) since being recalled from Triple A. He will try to maintain his groove on Wednesday in the series finale with the Cubs at 12:20 p.m. MT.
Cubs: Left-hander Jon Lester will make his 21st start on Wednesday in the series finale. He has gone at least seven innings in each of his last five starts in July, posting a 1.53 ERA in that stretch, though he's won only one of those games. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field.
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