CHICAGO -- After beating the reigning American League champs, the Indians, in two games, the Rockies didn't blink against the defending World Series champs, the Cubs. DJ LeMahieu belted a three-run homer and Charlie Blackmon hit two doubles, driving in one run, to lift the Rockies to their season-high fifth straight win, a 4-1 victory over the Cubs on Thursday night.
LeMahieu, who came into the game batting .369 against left-handed pitching, connected against Jonathan Lester in a four-run second inning. Lester was vying for his 150th career win, but instead took the loss and departed after giving up four runs over five innings.
"I was just informed that's his second homer in four years off a left-handed fastball," Lester said. "At the end of the day, I'll take me throwing my fastball down and away and a guy hitting an 'oppo' homer. It sucks. We got the loss. We got beat. Tip your hat."
The National League West-leading Rockies, with just one winning road season in their history (41-40 in 2009), improved to 22-10 away from Coors Field. For comparison, they won 21 road games the entire 2014 season.
The homer was special for LeMahieu, who was selected in the second round by the Cubs eight years ago Friday and traded to the Rockies in December 2011. LeMahieu has burned the Cubs to the tune of a .311 (37-for-119) average, but it was his first homer at The Friendly Confines.
"I like playing here, I like playing against these guys," LeMahieu said. "The first homer at Wrigley came at a pretty good time."
Colorado starter Tyler Chatwood served up Kristopher Bryant's 14th homer with one out in the Chicago first and then settled down. The Rockies right-hander gave up three more hits before exiting after six innings. Chatwood is now 4-3 on the road with a 2.53 ERA and has been charged with two earned runs over 21 innings in his last three starts away from home. He's 2-4 with a 7.03 ERA at Coors Field.
"He's got it in him to pitch a solid game," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He's got good stuff. Tonight the key was fastball location, especially down and away to their big left-handed hitters and the slider away to the righty."
"The thing about Chatwood, the sinker was that good," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Even though we might have been chasing a little low, the ball was really dive-bombing at the very end, so you have to give him credit."
With the win, the Rockies improved to 6-1 this month and 39-23 overall, best in the NL West, while the Cubs remained one game behind the first-place Brewers in the NL Central.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Solo shots: The Cubs need to get runners on base ahead of Bryant. With one out in the Chicago first, he launched an 0-2 pitch from Chatwood to center field for his 14th home run. It was his 11th at Wrigley Field, and he ranks second to the Rockies' Mark Reynolds (12) in homers at home. Twelve of Bryant's homers this season have been solo shots.
"I tried to go heater, up, and he [Bryant] beat me on it," Chatwood said. "But with our offense, I don't think one run is going to win a lot of games. So I just had to get us back in the dugout and let us do our thing."
Welcome back: Lester struck out the first two batters in the Rockies second but Tony Wolters reached on an infield single and Chatwood singled to set up Blackmon, who dropped a double along the left-field line and just out of reach of shortstop Javier Baez. LeMahieu then launched a 2-1 pitch from Lester into the right-field bleachers for his third homer of the season.
Lester felt the Rockies took advantage of everything they could.
"You get a two-run bloop double from Blackmon on a really, really good pitch and Javy made an unbelievable effort on that -- I thought there was no chance anybody would get close to it and Javy was close," Lester said.
"Good game, well played on both sides. They hit a three-run homer and we didn't." -- Maddon
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Blackmon doubled in the first and second innings and has collected multiple hits in six straight games, tying his career-long streak (Sept. 18-24, 2013). The two six-game streaks are tied for third longest in Rockies history, and it's also the longest in the Majors this year. Blackmon also made a nice running catch of Baez's fly ball to the warning track in center for the first out of the Cubs' seventh.
Rockies: Last time righty German Marquez faced the Cubs, he didn't give up a hit until the seventh and gave up just three in eight innings of a 3-0 Rockies victory May 10. Marquez will face the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday at 12:20 p.m. MT.
Cubs:Mike Montgomery will make his first start of the season, subbing for Kyle Hendricks, who has inflammation in the back of his right hand. In Montgomery's last outing Monday, he threw 51 pitches over 3 1/3 innings. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT.
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