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Anderson twirls Rox's latest gem to ease fears

After leaving last start with lightheadedness, lefty fans 9 over 7 strong
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

CHICAGO -- Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson figured answering his messages Wednesday evening would be more pleasant than the last time he started a game. His strong start in the 11-2 victory over the Cubs wasn't the only reason.

"This time, I get texts saying, 'Good job,' instead of, 'Are you alive?'" Anderson said.

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CHICAGO -- Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson figured answering his messages Wednesday evening would be more pleasant than the last time he started a game. His strong start in the 11-2 victory over the Cubs wasn't the only reason.

"This time, I get texts saying, 'Good job,' instead of, 'Are you alive?'" Anderson said.

View Full Game Coverage

The Rockies pulled Anderson after 1 1/3 innings at Miami on Friday because of lightheadedness. It became scary because manager Bud Black mentioned a "heart issue" during his in-game interview, although it wasn't quite that serious.

But Anderson was fine through seven innings on Wednesday. His mix of fastball, changeup, cutter and a little bit of a curveball led to nine strikeouts as he held the Cubs to three hits, even though two of the hits were solo homers by Anthony Rizzo in the fourth inning and Kris Bryant in the sixth.

Like righty Jon Gray, who threw seven strong innings in a 3-1 victory Tuesday night, Anderson contended with an out-blowing wind. The Rockies ended up with four homers -- two from Nolan Arenado, one apiece from Trevor Story and Chris Iannetta. The two victories came after a three-game Rockies losing streak and a five-game Cubs winning run.

Video: COL@CHC: Arenado crushes 2 home runs in Chicago

"It was a better job of commanding the zone, forcing contact when we could and when we needed it, and keeping the ball on the ground in a situation where the ball was in the air today, it seemed it was a homer every time," said Anderson, who forced seven groundouts.

"He was crisp from the get-go, arguably one of his better games that I've seen the last couple of years," Black said. "All pitches were working. We talked about the tempo that I think he needs to pitch at, and he did it. He was getting the ball, getting the sign, he and Chris [Iannetta] were great."

Anderson is part of a strong run of Colorado starting pitching -- a 1.68 ERA over the last eight games, five of them Rockies wins. Opponents hit just .171 against Colorado's rotation during that span. According to Elias, the Rockies have had four straight starts of seven or more innings and three or fewer earned runs for the first time since June 6-9, 2015. The starts have come during a time when 15-hit performances like Wednesday's haven't been the norm.

"I'm not standing a lot, that's a good thing," Arenado said. "I'm not out there standing all the time. The momentum is great. Our starting pitching lately has kind of carried us."

Video: COL@CHC: Anderson strikes out Zobrist swinging

Anderson walked just one, and during the last eight games, the starters have 51 strikeouts against 11 walks.

In his last start, Anderson felt something in his rib cage, and in investigating that his heart raced, which led to the lightheadedness. Anderson said it "wasn't quite a panic attack -- it was a high adrenaline rush, and then dump, which makes you lightheaded and faint." He was OK with it long before his family, friends and the television audience on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain.

"As soon as I came out of that game and there was nothing wrong, I turned the page and forgot that it ever happened," Anderson said.

The biggest stress was reassuring others.

"Right away people were saying I had a heart issue," he said. "So everybody was like, 'Oh, my gosh. Are you alive? Are you OK?' Fortunately, it was nothing like that, so it was fine. But there was a lot of outreach from my family and friends and people trying to make sure I was OK, which was nice."

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

Colorado Rockies, Tyler Anderson