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Freeland stellar in 7 shutout, backed by Story slam

Left-hander records first victory since last July
MLB.com

DENVER -- Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland endured a long, and at times remedial, education before graduating back into the win column Tuesday night.

Freeland had gone 12 starts -- 16 appearances -- without a win before buzzing the Padres on three hits over seven innings of an 8-0 victory on another cold night at Coors Field.

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DENVER -- Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland endured a long, and at times remedial, education before graduating back into the win column Tuesday night.

Freeland had gone 12 starts -- 16 appearances -- without a win before buzzing the Padres on three hits over seven innings of an 8-0 victory on another cold night at Coors Field.

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Trevor Story's second-inning grand slam was part of a seven-run barrage in the first three innings of Padres rookie lefty Eric Lauer's Major League career. And Freeland (1-3), who had many highs as a rookie (and Denver native) last season -- but last tasted victory on July 30 -- made it stand as the Rockies notched their second shutout of the season.

"I didn't know that was the day, but looking back, yeah that seems like a long time ago," Freeland said.

Video: SD@COL: Freeland gets hit on comebacker, nabs Headley

The victory brought the Rockies back above .500 at 13-12, but it was just their second win in the last six games and fourth in 11 home games.

However, the possibility of young starters (like Freeland) seeing it all come together is one of many reasons the Rockies believe they can take off, if they simply keep their heads above water through tough times. Freeland set the tone with a six-pitch first inning -- after Rox starters had given up first-inning runs each of the four previous games of the homestand -- and an 11-pitch second.

"I really liked, today, the aggressiveness from the onset -- early pitch count effectiveness," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "[Freeland] attacked with the fastball, attacked with the slider."

Freeland breezed on the scoresheet, but there was pain. Chase Headley's fourth-inning smash caromed off his left heel. Freeland retrieved the ball to make the play at first base, but pitched the rest of the game in pain. Black said he thought the pain actually helped Freeland's delivery. Freeland agreed, even while smarting -- and enduring training-room jokes about having someone smash his heel before every game he pitches.

"I guess you can attribute that to ... thinking more about my heel than my mechanics," Freeland said. "It kind of helped me, I guess."

In his last two starts, Freeland threw 101 pitches in 5 2/3 innings of a no-decision at Washington, and 91 in four innings of a loss at Pittsburgh. One issue was his inability to work both sides of the plate.

A top Rockies Draft pick in 2014 out of the University of Evansville, Freeland had a quick rise to the Majors because of his ability to challenge right-handed hitters inside. However, he has had issues spotting pitches down and out, which limited his ability to finish off counts.

But on Tuesday, Freeland threw enough strikes there to keep hitters guessing. He finished off two strikeouts and forced a fly ball low and out, and was able to use that area to control the count, as Statcast™ showed.

Tweet from @harding_at_mlb: #Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland threw seven innings with no runs and eight strikeouts. And he got balls arm side, specifically outside against righty hitters. He had two strikeouts, two groundouts and numerous strikes to righties in that location. It had been a problem. Tonight? No. pic.twitter.com/fij9Et8GWq

"He was just pitching to both sides of the plate -- sometimes he sticks to one, but he dominated with his fastball, simple as that," the Padres' Austin Hedges said.

Freeland said he concentrated less on the arm side and the speed changes, but his fastball and slider to the glove side were so effective that he was able to hit the other side.

"Off that, going glove side it helps my mechanics to be correct going glove side, and it just opened up the outer half for me for arm-side pitches," he said.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Scoring position isn't really scoring position, unless you score: It happened just twice. Hedges and Lauer each singled with one out in the third, but Freeland quickly put down the threat with a Manuel Margot liner to left and one of his three strikeouts of Franchy Cordero, whose go-ahead home run Monday ignited a nine-run seventh inning and a 13-5 victory.

Freeland also fanned Cordero with runners at second and third in the fifth, courtesy of one of his two walks and Margot's two-out double.

Answering the call: Outfielders David Dahl and Noel Cuevas, called up Sunday as the Rockies deal with Carlos Gonzalez's right hamstring injury and Gerardo Parra's suspension (which ends after Wednesday's game), each contributed. Cuevas delivered his first Major League hit in the second, off Lauer. He slipped rounding first to cost himself a double, but eventually scored on DJ LeMahieu's single.

Video: SD@COL: Cuevas records first Major League hit

Dahl came through with a triple and scored on Ian Desmond's single in the fifth, both against Adam Cimber.

SOUND SMART
In keeping with the Rockies' season of awful weather, the game started (after a 46-minute delay) with a temperature of 37 degrees. It actually was a degree warmer at the end.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
A 6-5-3 double play seems odd, since the third baseman (5) rarely covers second and getting the flip from the shortstop (6) is irregular, but that's what happens in these days of extreme infield shifts. But to end Tuesday's ninth inning, with Headley batting, star third baseman Nolan Arenado took the throw from Story, then imitated the shortstop with a 360-degree turn before firing to first.

Video: SD@COL: Story, Arenado turn game-ending DP

"I don't think I've seen that, but if anybody's going to do it, it's him," Story said. "We practice those plays all the time. We practice them in Spring Training. We do a lot of communicating before the pitch, so we kind of knew how it was going to happen.

"He's pretty nifty out there, as everybody knows. He can pretty much do anything on the baseball field."

UP NEXT
Slumping righty Jon Gray (1-4, 7.09 ERA) must find his put-away slider when he faces the Padres in the rubber game Wednesday. Historically, Gray's slider has been a reliable out pitch; however, his swing-and-miss rate is the lowest for sliders in the Majors, and he has allowed a .385 batting average on it when ahead in the count. Gray will face righty Tyson Ross (2-1, 2.81), with first pitch set for 1:10 p.m. MT.

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, Kyle Freeland

Hot Story launches 2nd career grand slam

Shortstop appears to have turned corner with bat in recent games
MLB.com

DENVER -- Simplicity can be devastating for opponents, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story is showing.

Story crushed a pitch from Padres debuting lefty Eric Lauer for his second career grand slam during an 8-0 Rockies victory on Tuesday night.

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DENVER -- Simplicity can be devastating for opponents, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story is showing.

Story crushed a pitch from Padres debuting lefty Eric Lauer for his second career grand slam during an 8-0 Rockies victory on Tuesday night.

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In his last eight games, Story is 11-for-26 (.423) with three home runs and 12 RBIs. Most importantly, Story has struck out just six times. Story led the National League with 191 strikeouts last year and has 32 this year. He went into Tuesday third in the NL in the category.

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

"Just being ready to hit," Story said. "Not trying to do too much. I think that helps me a lot. Less is more for me in a lot of ways. Just trying to put my best swing on it and not do too much."

Despite the early strikeouts, a strong spring sparked a belief among the Rockies and others that Story was about to take off.

"I've talked about Trevor looking better the last four or five games," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Even yesterday's game [a 13-5 loss], that game was in the balance -- we were up, 5-4. That absolute bullet that he hit to the second baseman that turned into a double play, that was a smash.

"Trev's at-bats have been better -- solid contact. He took another walk today. He's doing fine."

The Rockies scored two first-inning runs off Lauer when second baseman Jose Pirela's double-play relay bounced for an error, Chris Iannetta reached and two runs scored.

Video: SD@COL: Iannetta reaches on error, two score

Story not only walked in the first, but in the second, he watched Nolan Arenado walk in front of him to load the bases. Then, with the count 1-1, he clubbed Lauer's third straight fastball into the seats.

"You always pay attention to the at-bats in front of you," Story said. "Against a guy like Nolan and right-handers, I really pay attention. But at the end of the day, just trying to get something up and try to put my best swing on it."

It's not only power, but speed -- Story has two doubles and a triple, plus a team-high five stolen bases in as many attempts. While the Rockies and their fans like the fact Story has trotted out six home runs, he also went into Tuesday with five infield hits -- tied with five others for second in the Majors.

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, Trevor Story

Rockies call up Pounders, option Oberg

Colorado hopes right-hander can bolster struggling bullpen
MLB.com

DENVER -- Righty Brooks Pounders, who appeared in 11 games for the Angels last season, arrived Tuesday as the latest reinforcement for a Rockies bullpen that has had its moments but, overall, has struggled this season.

Pounders, who has a 3.60 ERA in 10 innings pitched at Triple-A Albuquerque this season, replaces righty Scott Oberg (1-0, 6.55 ERA in 10 games), who was optioned to Albuquerque. To add Pounders to the Major League roster, the Rockies designated Albuquerque righty starter Zach Jemiola for assignment.

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DENVER -- Righty Brooks Pounders, who appeared in 11 games for the Angels last season, arrived Tuesday as the latest reinforcement for a Rockies bullpen that has had its moments but, overall, has struggled this season.

Pounders, who has a 3.60 ERA in 10 innings pitched at Triple-A Albuquerque this season, replaces righty Scott Oberg (1-0, 6.55 ERA in 10 games), who was optioned to Albuquerque. To add Pounders to the Major League roster, the Rockies designated Albuquerque righty starter Zach Jemiola for assignment.

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Pounders, 27, went 1-0 with 12 earned runs allowed in 10 1/3 innings last season with the Angels. He also went 2-1 with a 9.24 ERA for the Royals in 2016. Each year, his bad outings were really bad, which inflated his final numbers, but it points to elusive consistency which Pounders has yet to find.

"It's just staying within myself and controlling what I can control, not doing too much in situations when you need a strikeout," Pounders said. "Just get to that pitch that gets you the strikeout instead of getting deeper into counts. Obviously, for me, it's keeping the ball down and away from right-handed hitters and down and away from left-handed hitters."

During the first four games of the current six-game homestand, the Rockies gave up nine or more runs three times -- a 16-5 loss to the Cubs on Friday night, a 9-7 loss to the Cubs Sunday and a 13-5 loss to the Padres on Monday. It all meant heavy bullpen usage. The Rockies have made two additions this week, with lefty Harrison Musgrave joining Monday when lefty Chris Rusin went to the 10-day disabled list with an intercostal muscle strain, and Pounders arriving Tuesday.

"We needed a guy with a little bit of length and a fresh arm, so that was the priority there," said Rockies manager Bud Black, who noted that Pounders had not pitched in three days.

Tale of two bullpens
With the exception of Monday's loss, when lefty Jake McGee lost a lead in the seventh inning, the bullpen had pitched far better with a lead or in tie games than when behind. They're 9-1 when ahead after six.

However, part of the reason the Rockies entered Tuesday with a 12-12 record is that they are 0-10 when behind after six, and 0-12 when behind after seven. The bullpen's performance was far different when ahead and when behind.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, here is the Rockies' bullpen's performance, according to the score:

When ahead: 3.12 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, .630 OPS

When tied: 3.72 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, .779 OPS

When trailing: 7.57 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, .776 OPS

McGee, whose ERA rose from 1.14 to 5.06 because of Monday's rough outing, Adam Ottavino (0.71 ERA) and closer Wade Davis (1.93, 9-of-10 on save chances) generally end up with the ball with a lead. Rusin (4.97) was rounding into form after a rough beginning.

However, lefty Mike Dunn (10.80 ERA) hasn't given up a hit in five high-leverage plate appearances, but has yielded a .571 average in medium-leverage and .375 in low-leverage appearances. Bryan Shaw (7.59 ERA) has allowed a .100 batting average against in high leverage situations, vs. .400 medium and .471 low.

Oberg, being sent down with some specifics to help him close out counts, was doing most of his pitching with the Rockies behind. It is worth noting that 11 of the 13 runners Oberg has inherited have scored. Last year, just six of the 38 scored.

"We have a lot of guys throwing the ball well, but we've had some unfortunate luck for a few guys," Ottavino said. "I feel those guys have thrown the ball better than their ERAs, especially 'Dunner.' Crazy things have happened.

"When we do have the leads we've been able to hold them. But the thing is we've got to be able to keep the game close when we're down."

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, Zach Jemiola, Scott Oberg, Brooks Pounders

Bullpen has rare slip-up as Rox fall to Padres

Bettis settles in after rough 1st inning, but big 7th frame stings Rockies
MLB.com

DENVER -- Left-hander Jake McGee hasn't had many nights this season like Monday night. In fact, the Rockies' bullpen hadn't had any before the 13-5 loss to the Padres at Coors Field.

The Rockies had won all nine times they led after six innings. But their one-run lead in the seventh became a deficit when left fielder Ian Desmond lost Matt Szczur's liner in the lights and left-handed-hitting Franchy Cordero followed with a homer off McGee -- who entered having held lefties to a .167 average (2-for-12). From there the inning degenerated into a nine-run mess, mostly absorbed by Scott Oberg.

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DENVER -- Left-hander Jake McGee hasn't had many nights this season like Monday night. In fact, the Rockies' bullpen hadn't had any before the 13-5 loss to the Padres at Coors Field.

The Rockies had won all nine times they led after six innings. But their one-run lead in the seventh became a deficit when left fielder Ian Desmond lost Matt Szczur's liner in the lights and left-handed-hitting Franchy Cordero followed with a homer off McGee -- who entered having held lefties to a .167 average (2-for-12). From there the inning degenerated into a nine-run mess, mostly absorbed by Scott Oberg.

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Szczur's was a scorcher for which McGee blamed himself and not Desmond, saying, "I hope he catches it, but at the end of the day, I made a bad pitch and he hit it hard." The Cordero homer came on a fastball he left up, while behind in the count.

While disappointed, McGee spoke with the self-assuredness of a veteran who expects to succeed, and is confident in his club.

"For me and the other relievers, it's being consistent," said McGee, whose ERA swelled from 1.74 to 5.06 after yielding four runs on three hits and a walk in one-third of an inning. "If you're good eight or nine out of 10 outings, just put one of them behind you. It's having amnesia in a lot of ways."

Video: SD@COL: McGee, Oberg on 'pen troubles in 13-5 loss

For the Rockies, it has been a forgettable beginning of the season at home, where they are 3-7. They fell to 1-3 against the Padres, who have won just four times in their home at Petco Park.

Still the Padres are 12-12 overall because of strong road work, something that Rockies history says isn't a dependable formula for success over a full season. Their only winning road campaigns in their 25 full seasons were 2009 and last year, both 41-40.

Video: SD@COL: Black on loss to Padres, Cavnar's first call

"We'll be all right," manager Bud Black said. "These guys have been through this before. The resolve of these players is solid."

Nolan Arenado, in his first at-bat against the Padres since charging the mound against them on April 11 and receiving a five-game suspension, parked a two-run first-inning homer. Trevor Story added a two-run shot two batters later to erase righty Chad Bettis' rough top of the first and tie the score at 4. Desmond's third-inning RBI double produced a lead. Normally, that has been enough in the hands of the bullpen.

Oberg, who gave up five runs on three hits and two walks while managing one out, saw his inning spin out of control when he had two outs and an 0-2 count against Carlos Asuaje -- who hit a three-run homer off Bettis in the first. Oberg gave up a single through the mound.

"If I'm able to execute the pitches I want to execute with two strikes, the game possibly goes in a different direction," said Oberg, who had to watch another righty, Antonio Senzatela, struggle through two hits and a walk before finally ending the inning.

The 15 plate appearances by the Padres tied for the most in an inning against the Rockies. It happened four other times, most recently by the Nationals on April 27, 2017, in the seventh.

Video: SD@COL: Padres score nine runs in huge 7th inning

The inning featured a two-run Cory Spangenberg single and a two-run double from Wil Myers, who went 4-for-6 and is hitting .350 (35-for-100) with six doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 23 RBIs at Coors Field.

Bettis, the Rockies' best starter in the early going, yielded four first-inning runs. One came when the ball slipped from his hand for a balk with Myers at third, and three more on Asuaje's homer.

Bettis, however, settled down and worked five innings, and Harrison Musgrave, in his Major League debut, pitched a clean sixth, with one strikeout.

After the first, Black noted on Bettis, "Then he started making pitches, like we've seen most of this season."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Arenado's homer, his fourth this season and the second since his return, and Story's, his fifth, were notable in part because the calls came from AT&T SportsNet broadcaster Jenny Cavnar, the first woman to call play-by-play for a Rockies game since Gayle Gardner did it for a 1993 game against the Reds.

Video: SD@COL: Cavnar joins the booth for play-by-play

Also, they were notable according to Statcast™ measurements.

Video: SD@COL: Arenado cranks two-run homer to left

Arenado's, one of eight hits in 5 1/3 innings off Padres starter Bryan Mitchell, had a launch angle of 21 degrees over the left-field wall. It was his second-lowest trajectory since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015.

Story's homer to left traveled a projected 464 feet -- the deepest of his career, which began in 2016.

Video: SD@COL: Story launches a 464-ft. home run to left

UP NEXT
Lefty Kyle Freeland (0-3, 5.85 ERA) struggled with his fastball command in his last start, a loss at Pittsburgh. He will make his second home start -- and his second against the Padres -- at 6:40 p.m. MT on Tuesday. Lefty prospect Eric Lauer will make his Major League debut as San Diego's starter.

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, Nolan Arenado, Chad Bettis, Scott Oberg, Trevor Story

Jenny Cavnar breaks barriers by calling play-by-play on Monday's Rockies broadcast

Jenny Cavnar is no stranger to the game of baseball -- she's been working in MLB for 12 years. And on Monday night, she became the first woman since 1993 to do play-by-play on a big league telecast. 

"I am very excited about tonight," Cavnar told MLB.com's Thomas Harding. "I'm really honored on the historical context of it, but I'm more so excited for the team effort. We have such a great team of broadcasters, producers, directors -- so it'll be really fun to collaborate with them and do the game tonight."

Rockies summon Musgrave; Rusin put on DL

Callup expected to have similar role as veteran lefty reliever
MLB.com

DENVER -- Left-hander Harrison Musgrave had a memorable Major League deubt during the Rockies' otherwise forgettable 13-5 loss to the Padres on Monday night at Coors Field.

Musgrave, who was 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA at Triple-A Albuquerque, was added to the bullpen Monday to replace lefty Chris Rusin, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right intercostal strain. Musgrave turned in a decent Rusin imitation, striking out one in a clean sixth inning while protecting a 5-4 lead.

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DENVER -- Left-hander Harrison Musgrave had a memorable Major League deubt during the Rockies' otherwise forgettable 13-5 loss to the Padres on Monday night at Coors Field.

Musgrave, who was 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA at Triple-A Albuquerque, was added to the bullpen Monday to replace lefty Chris Rusin, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right intercostal strain. Musgrave turned in a decent Rusin imitation, striking out one in a clean sixth inning while protecting a 5-4 lead.

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"It was cool to get a first-pitch strike, go through and have a clean inning. It was nerve-racking, but it was nice," said Musgrave, a West Virginia University product whose father made the trip for the debut.

Musgrave saw a familiar foe his first batter, inducing a groundout from Carlos Asuaje.

"I faced Asuaje a good bit in Triple-A, so it was nice to see a familiar face the first batter," he said.

Then he fanned Freddy Galvis and threw out Cory Spangenberg after a comebacker.

To add Musgrave to the Major League roster, the Rockies transferred righty Carlos Estevez to the 60-day DL. He had been on the 10-day DL because of an oblique strain he suffered in Spring Training, and now has a right elbow strain.

At least Musgrave will have Rusin as a mentor. Rusin (0-0, 4.97 ERA in eight appearances) was, like Musgrave, a starter who transitioned to bullpen duty. Musgrave has started all but two of his 80 Minor League appearances, but manager Bud Black began using him in relief situations during Spring Training.

Video: Rusin discusses being placed on 10-day disabled list

The Rockies put Musgrave's locker right beside Rusin's.

"The last two years have been more a transition to long relief/spot-start, and I've been looking forward to the opportunity," said Musgrave, 26, an eighth-round pick in the 2014 Draft out of West Virginia University. "I've talked to [Rusin] a few times today to see how he's feeling to pick his brain a little and see how he felt about the transition."

On Sunday, Rusin pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, with four of the five outs via strikeout, in the Rockies' 9-7 loss to the Cubs. But he felt the injury on his next-to-last pitch. Rusin, who led the NL last year with 85 relief innings, was turning the corner after an inconsistent early going.

"I struggled with my delivery at the beginning of the season, and it's slowly ironing out, getting into a better rhythm," Rusin said. "It's frustrating that it had to happen yesterday. I was starting to feel a lot better, felt I was back to my form [from] last year."

Estevez, 25, had a 4.91 ERA in four games at Albuquerque, but has not pitched since April 15.

Back to baseball

Third baseman Nolan Arenado served a five-game suspension for his part in the brawl that occurred between the Rockies and Padres on April 11, and outfielder Gerardo Parra served the second game of his four-game suspension Monday. So by the end of this series, Colorado will have played nine of its past 11 games with 24 players (suspended players cannot be replaced).

All that could be a deterrent should bad blood continue, though it didn't when the teams opened a three-game series Monday night.

"It's still affecting us," Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon said. "We've got guys suspended. That hurts your team. But at the same time, you've got to stand up for yourself. I think both sides have gotten over it."

At the end of the confrontation, Arenado found himself face to face with Padres bench coach Mark McGwire -- a man he has looked up to -- in an unpleasant conversation. Arenado spoke about it Monday.

"Skip Schumaker is the [Padres'] first-base coach, and I'm really good friends with Skip. I've known him since I was in the eighth grade," Arenado said. "They used to hit at the same cages I used to hit at, and we'd talk hitting. I know them pretty good. It was interesting to see Mark kind of get in my face."

Video: SD@COL: Cavnar joins the booth for play-by-play

Blazing the trail

Monday marked the play-by-play regular-season debut of AT&T SportsNet broadcaster Jenny Cavnar. She was the first woman to do play-by-play for a Rockies game since Gayle Gardner was the first when she called a Rockies-Reds game in 1993.

Cavnar made history in 2015 when she joined the KOA Rockies Radio Network as a color commentator for select games. Cavnar also did play-by-play on a Spring Training game this year.

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, Harrison Musgrave, Chris Rusin

Rox battle back, but can't finish comeback bid

Righty Marquez's struggles put team in early hole
MLB.com

DENVER -- A 96.3-mph fastball got away from Rockies right-hander German Marquez and hit Cubs star Kris Bryant in the helmet Sunday afternoon, and Marquez couldn't regain his handle thereafter.

After the hit batsman that sent Bryant to the clubhouse with a laceration above his left eye -- but no signs of a concussion -- the Cubs bested Marquez for three first-inning runs and six over 3 1/3 frames in their 9-7 victory at Coors Field.

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DENVER -- A 96.3-mph fastball got away from Rockies right-hander German Marquez and hit Cubs star Kris Bryant in the helmet Sunday afternoon, and Marquez couldn't regain his handle thereafter.

After the hit batsman that sent Bryant to the clubhouse with a laceration above his left eye -- but no signs of a concussion -- the Cubs bested Marquez for three first-inning runs and six over 3 1/3 frames in their 9-7 victory at Coors Field.

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"I was just trying to pitch in, and that one got away," Marquez said. "I'm glad he's doing fine. But I was just trying to continue to pitch and give the team a chance to win."

Video: CHC@COL: Bryant hit in the helmet, leaves the game

As much as the hit batsman may have bothered Marquez (1-2), who was coming off a standout performance in Pittsburgh in his last start, the Rockies battled back from 6-0 to threaten the Cubs' lead. A game that turned wild with unusual plays ended with a replay reversal that showed Cubs closer Brandon Morrow tagged out Nolan Arenado at the plate after his pitch had squirted away from catcher Willson Contreras with the bases loaded.

Arenado said he thought his foot beat the tag.

"It was still kind of close on review. It was hard to tell. But I was out."

Video: CHC@COL: Morrow tags out Arenado at home for the save

It was a strange end to a series played in less than ideal baseball weather with its share of craziness.

"That's not the way you want to lose," Arenado said in Spanish, with first-base coach Tony Diaz translating. "I felt like a lot of things were going their way at times. Sometimes it went our way.

In the end, the Rockies were unable to overcome the early deficit that resulted from Marquez's issues with lefties.

Cubs left-handed hitters in the 4-through-8 positions in the lineup went 7-for-9 against Marquez. Not all balls were hit hard, and all the hits were singles, but for the season, lefties are hitting .472 (17-for-36) against Marquez. Last year, lefties batted .279 against him, while righties hit .270.

"I think I'm just throwing too many fastballs to them," Marquez said. "I need to start mixing it up, like I do to righties, and hopefully the results will come my way."

Manager Bud Black said, "I don't think there's anything he's doing different. Let's just see how it plays out as the season progresses. If anything, with most pitchers, it's about commanding the fastball and getting the breaking ball down."

Tommy La Stella, Kyle Schwarber and Victor Caratini had RBIs from the left side of the plate in the first inning, and Jason Heyward -- in a moment of glee on a day that saw the right fielder lose a Trevor Story fly ball in the sun in the third, resulting in a two-run triple, and an Ian Desmond deep fly in the fourth, which bounced off the wall for a double -- delivered a two-run single in the third. Javier Baez had the only righty hit off Marquez, but it was a solo homer with two outs in the second.

Video: CHC@COL: Story triples in two with help from the sun

"German's got great stuff, and he's young and a thrower turning into a pitcher, in my opinion," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "He's got a big arm with plus stuff, and he has really good command for where he's at in his career, and I think that's going to keep getting better."

The Rockies got consecutive home runs by Charlie Blackmon and Arenado in the fifth to cut the deficit to two runs. But the Cubs added three runs in the seventh inning, highlighted by Baez's two-run double and relief pitcher Steve Cishek's first Major League hit, a bunt on a play the Rockies left first base uncovered.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Rockies scored a run on Ryan McMahon's fielder's-choice grounder, and David Dahl, in his 2018 debut, singled hard off pitcher Carl Edwards Jr.'s lower right leg to score a run, and another run scored on an error on the play. However, the bullpen held on, with Morrow earning his fourth save despite allowing two hits and a walk in the ninth.

Video: CHC@COL: Dahl single, Edwards error plate two for Rox

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Too much Almora: In each of the first two innings, the Rockies had a runner at second base, and each time the rallies disappeared into the glove of diving Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. With one out in the second, Almora robbed Arenado, and he did the same to Noel Cuevas -- who was making his first Major League plate appearance -- to end the second. In the ninth, Almora crashed into the wall after snaring Blackmon's leadoff drive against Morrow.

Video: Must C Catch: Almora makes three sensational catches

"Their center fielder probably made two of the greatest plays I've seen in my career," Black said. "Those were hard-hit balls, Cuevas' ball, Nolan's ball, and even Charlie's ball at the end."

Who's on first?
The Cubs were up, 7-4, and had two on and one out in the seventh when Cishek -- batting because the Cubs had exhausted all their bench options except backup catcher Contreras -- went up to bunt. He got the bunt down with two strikes and Arenado charging from third and Desmond from first. But when Arenado picked up the ball and went to throw to first, he had nobody to throw to -- third was covered by Story, second by DJ LeMahieu -- and the bases were loaded. The three-run inning added some needed insurance for the Cubs.

Video: CHC@COL: Cishek bunts for his first Major League hit

"In that situation, 'Desi' will probably tell you that he needed to get back to first base," Black said.

HE SAID IT
"I thought we battled all day long. We kept coming back. It was a wild one." -- Black, on the near comeback

UP NEXT
When they last met on April 11, the Rockies and Padres got into a brawl. When they meet again Monday at Coors Field to begin a three-game series, Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra will be out, serving a suspension that stemmed from the fight. The Rockies will start righty Chad Bettis (3-0, 1.44 ERA), who held the Padres to two runs and five hits in five innings while beating them April 4 at Petco Park. The Padres will start righty Bryan Mitchell (0-2, 5.03).

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

CarGo goes on DL; Rox call up Dahl, Cuevas

Parra begins serving 4-game suspension, Tauchman assigned to Triple-A
MLB.com

DENVER -- Amid the Rockies' Sunday morning roster moves, David Dahl made his long-anticipated return to the Majors and Noel Cuevas made his first trip to the bigs -- both up from Triple-A Albuquerque -- in the Rockies' 9-7 loss to the Cubs on Sunday afternoon.

Starting in left field, Dahl went 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. Cuevas, who started in right field, went 0-for-3 but was robbed of an extra-base hit by Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. on his deep line drive in his first at-bat.

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DENVER -- Amid the Rockies' Sunday morning roster moves, David Dahl made his long-anticipated return to the Majors and Noel Cuevas made his first trip to the bigs -- both up from Triple-A Albuquerque -- in the Rockies' 9-7 loss to the Cubs on Sunday afternoon.

Starting in left field, Dahl went 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. Cuevas, who started in right field, went 0-for-3 but was robbed of an extra-base hit by Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. on his deep line drive in his first at-bat.

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The reinforcements became necessary when Gerardo Parra dropped his appeal and began serving a four-game suspension for his role in an April 11 bench-clearing incident vs. the Padres. The Rockies also placed outfielder Carlos Gonzalez on the 10-day disabled list with right hamstring soreness and optioned outfielder Mike Tauchman (1-for-23, three walks, 11 strikeouts) to Albuquerque.

Video: CHC@COL: Dahl single, Edwards error plate two for Rox

Dahl, a first-round pick (10th overall) by the Rockies in the 2012 Draft, excited the Rockies' faithful in 2016 when he hit .315 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs in his 63-game Major League debut, but last year, a stress reaction in his rib wouldn't go away and eventually led to back problems. He didn't appear in the Majors, and was shut down at Albuquerque on July 31.

After two strong games to start this Triple-A season, Dahl came down with a stomach virus and didn't play for 11 days. Overall, he has hit .231 with two doubles and five RBIs in six games in Albuquerque, but feels healthy.

"It's been a while since I've been back, so I'm just excited, ready to get out there and play," said Dahl, who said his strength came back quickly after recovering from the illness.

This spring, a rusty Dahl began 0-for-15 but went 17-for-47 (.362) with five home runs, three doubles and a triple the rest of the way. Manager Bud Black said he wanted Dahl to get into the swing of playing regularly before bringing him back to the Majors.

"The at-bats have been really good, and I'm trying to carry that up here. And defensively, I feel like I made some good plays in Albuquerque," Dahl said.

Cuevas, 26, was a 21st-round pick by the Dodgers in the 2010 Draft. He came to the Rockies in the Dodgers' trade for relief pitcher Juan Nicasio in December 2014. Cuevas' breakthrough began last year at Albuquerque (.312-.353-.487 slugging) and continued early this year; he was hitting .333 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 16 games.

During Spring Training, Cuevas, a native of Camuy, Puerto Rico, brought attention to the damage caused by Hurricane Maria on his home island.

"It means the world to my family, it means the world to the island of Puerto Rico, and especially my city of Camuy," Cuevas said. "I think everybody is going to be watching today in my city, and I love 'em all. I feel the good vibes."

Video: Dahl, Black on Dahl's promotion to the Major Leagues

While Dahl is a left-handed hitter, Cuevas gives the roster a needed righty hitter; both callups were in the lineup Sunday as the Cubs started lefty Jose Quintana. Cuevas also gives the Rockies a righty bench bat alongside Pat Valaika on other days.

Gonzalez suffered the injury while making a 5-star catch in Wednesday's 10-2 loss at Pittsburgh. Although he is improving -- he took batting practice before Saturday night's 5-2 victory over the Cubs, the need to bring in outfield reinforcements led to his DL placement.

"The thing that put us over the top was with Parra's suspension starting today and CarGo not 100 percent, we maybe would've been down to 23 players," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "I mean, CarGo was available to pinch-hit and give us an at-bat, but we probably would have had to run for him. He isn't able to play defense the next couple days."

Gonzalez's DL placement is retroactive to Thursday.

Hoffman's status changed

The Rockies announced that they've rescinded the option to Triple-A Albuquerque for righty Jeff Hoffman, who is working his way back from right shoulder soreness suffered in Spring Training. Hoffman will stay at Albuquerque, but officially he's on the 10-day disabled list and on a Minor League rehab assignment. In Hoffman's last start, he retired the last 11 batters he faced.

Earth Day power

MLB celebrated Earth Day on Sunday. The Rockies are one of nine clubs that celebrate it all the time, since they use solar power at Coors Field.

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, David Dahl, Carlos Gonzalez

MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

MLB.com

MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances in the Minor Leagues from the previous week. Any player on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible.

It's just our second edition of Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week and we already have a pair of repeat performers.

MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances in the Minor Leagues from the previous week. Any player on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible.

It's just our second edition of Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week and we already have a pair of repeat performers.

2018 Prospect Teams of the Week

Nationals outfielder Juan Soto and Orioles lefty Zac Lowther have earned back-to-back honors, with both showing that the South Atlantic League is not so challenging for them thus far. Soto is joined by two other members of our Top 100 and Lowther is accompanied by a fellow member of the 2017 Draft class.  

Here is the latest addition of Prospect Team of the Week, for the week of April 16-22.

C: Austin Allen, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)
(Padres' No. 28 prospect)
6 G, .500/.577/.909, 7 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K

Allen was a two-time PTOW honoree last year in a season that saw him hit 22 homers and slug .497. Those wanting to see if that was a California League mirage should be pleased with his start, as his 11-for-22 week (with five extra-base hits) now has him hitting .373 with a .780 slugging percentage and six homers in the Texas League. He tops the circuit in slugging and OPS (1.202).

Watch: Allen crushes a double

1B: Sam Travis, Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A)
(Red Sox's No. 5 prospect)
6 G, .417/.500/.625, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K

Travis had four straight multi-hit games Monday through Thursday, starting with a two-hit performance that included his first home run of the International League season. Even with an 0-for-5 to end the week, he was still able to raise his season slash line to .346/.414/.462.

Watch: Travis ties score with two-run single

2B: David Fletcher, Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A)
(Angels' No. 24 prospect)
6 G, .467/.484/.767, 9 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB

Fletcher nearly made the big league team out of Spring Training and is now hitting like he wants to force his way there. He has a seven-game hitting streak going and has raised his average from .172 on April 11 to .366. Four three-hit games this past week certainly helped and he picked up his first homer of the year while not striking out all week.

Watch: Fletcher doubles as part of four-hit game

3B: Austin Riley, Mississippi Braves (Double-A)
(Braves' No. 8 prospect/MLB No. 97)
6 G, .522/.560/1.043, 5 R, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K

Riley has historically been a slow starter, but he's trying to reverse that trend in the Southern League in the early going. He led all prospects who can qualify for PTOW with 24 total bases last week and is now tied for second in the league with 14 RBIs and is fourth in OPS (1.190). His .386 average puts him eighth in the circuit.

Watch: Riley crushes third homer of 2018

SS: Brendan Rodgers, Hartford Yard Goats (Double-A)
(Rockies' No. 1 prospect/MLB No. 14)
6 G, .520/.538/.800, 3 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB, 4 K

When the week began, Rodgers was hitting just .143. Now he's up to .300 after a week that saw him hit in all six games he played in. He kicked things off with a three-hit performance and finished by going 5-for-5 on Sunday, including crushing his third home run of the season. Thanks to the week, Rodgers is now eighth in the Eastern League with his .533 slugging percentage.

Watch: Rodgers homers as part of five-hit day

OF: Calvin Mitchell, West Virginia Power (Class A)
(Pirates' No. 16 prospect)
7 G, .467/.500/.733, 5 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB, 6 K

Heading to full-season ball as a high school draftee can be tough, but Mitchell, the Pirates' second-round pick last June, seems to be adjusting just fine. He now has an eight-game hitting streak going and had four multi-hit games this past week. He homered and drove in three runs on Wednesday before going 4-for-4 with four RBIs on Saturday. He's currently fourth in the South Atlantic League in batting average (.364) and OPS (1.070) and fifth in slugging (.652).

OF: Myles Straw, Corpus Christi Hooks (Double-A)
(Astros' No. 21 prospect)
6 G, .520/.581/.680, 5 R, 2 3B, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SB, 4 K

Straw has a six-game hitting streak going, starting last week with a four-hit game and adding a 5-for-5 showing on Saturday. That's pushed his average up over .400 (he's second in the Texas League at .407). He also swiped three bases, giving him a league-leading 11 steals on the season (tied for third in the Minors).

Watch: Straw's four-hit night

OF: Juan Soto, Hagerstown Suns (Class A)
(Nationals' No. 2 prospect/MLB No. 29)
6 G, .391/.481/.739, 5 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 6 K

Soto showed an innate knack for hitting last year, but also missed most of the season with injuries. He's showing it was no fluke with how he's begun his 2018 campaign back in the South Atlantic League, with four two-hit games this last week. His advanced approach is clearly working, as he leads the SAL with his .486 on-base percentage. Soto's raw power is showing up in games: He tops the circuit in OPS (1.300) and slugging (.814) while his five homers put him in a tie for third. His strong start to the year earned him a promotion to Class A Advanced Potomac of the Carolina League.

Watch: Soto crushes three-run homer

LHP: Zac Lowther, Delmarva Shorebirds (Class A)
(Orioles' No. 17 prospect)
1-1, 0.90 ERA, 2 GS, 10 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 18 K, 0.60 WHIP

Lowther is back again, even if he did give up some hits and a run. After beginning his year with six no-hit innings, the southpaw followed it up with two five-inning starts. Combined, he now has a ridiculous 31/2 K/BB ratio over his first 16 innings of work in the South Atlantic League to go along with a .094 batting average against and 0.44 WHIP.

RHP: Tony Santillan, Daytona Tortugas (Class A Advanced)
(Reds' No. 5 prospect)
2-0, 0.71 ERA, 2 GS, 12 2/3 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 0.79 WHIP

Santillan has always had dynamic stuff and he's coming off of a strong full season in the Midwest League. The one thing that has been a bit of a question mark has been his command, but if the start to his Florida State League season is any indication, he's headed in the right direction. After a week that saw him win both decisions, he's now gone at least six innings in three of his four starts this year with a 2.0 BB/9 rate.

RP: Seranthony Dominguez, Reading Fightin Phils (Double-A)
(Phillies' No. 12 prospect)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 0.00 WHIP

Dominguez moved to the bullpen for the first time this season and the new role seems to suit him. His past as a starter still lets him go multiple innings, as he had a three-inning, no-hit, six-strikeout game on Wednesday and now has 17 K's (vs. just two walks) in 11 total innings.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Baez, LeMahieu explain spat at second base

LeMahieu denies Baez's allegation of sign stealing
Special to MLB.com

DENVER -- The Cubs and Rockies had a number of delays in Sunday's series finale -- including Kris Bryant's departure and injury checks on Albert Almora Jr. after a pair of athletic catches -- but the oddest was a heated exchange between shortstop Javier Baez and Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu in the third inning of the Cubs' 9-7 win.

LeMahieu reached first on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a Charlie Blackmon single. With Nolan Arenado at the plate, Baez started using his body to block LeMahieu's view of catcher Victor Caratini, whose signals, Baez claimed, were being relayed by LeMahieu to Arenado.

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DENVER -- The Cubs and Rockies had a number of delays in Sunday's series finale -- including Kris Bryant's departure and injury checks on Albert Almora Jr. after a pair of athletic catches -- but the oddest was a heated exchange between shortstop Javier Baez and Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu in the third inning of the Cubs' 9-7 win.

LeMahieu reached first on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a Charlie Blackmon single. With Nolan Arenado at the plate, Baez started using his body to block LeMahieu's view of catcher Victor Caratini, whose signals, Baez claimed, were being relayed by LeMahieu to Arenado.

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Baez had never tried the tactic before, but he had seen it used against Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.

"I don't know if it was the pitch or the location, but they were doing something," Baez said. "I'm 100 percent sure.

"We got to protect our team, our pitchers. This game is hard enough. If they're going to do it, don't do it to our face, because we're going to do something about it."

Baez continues hot stretch with 7th HR, 3 RBIs

LeMahieu denied stealing signs in a text to MLB.com's Thomas Harding.

"We have a good hitting team," LeMahieu said. "Teams think we are stealing signs all the time. We don't steal signs because no one in our lineup wants them. Their [shortstop] was trying to make a big deal out of nothing."

It isn't unusual for a runner on second to try to relay some kind of signal to the hitter, based on what he can see from that angle of the catcher's signs to the pitcher. Some hitters don't want to be distracted by information that might or might not be reliable, but Baez felt the Rockies were using their opportunities to hit Cubs pitching in the Rockies' 5-2 win Saturday, and he didn't want to see it again Sunday.

"Javy did something out there, where necessity is the mother of invention," manager Joe Maddon said. "We're always talking about this technological method of stealing signs. That was old-school. They're trying to give location or signs, and Javy was blocking. I loved it. I've never seen that before. That's some grassroots stuff. You might see that more often.

"Analytics were not involved in that play whatsoever."

Second base umpire Vic Carapazza had to intervene, and some players and coaches stepped in to make sure things didn't escalate.

"He was trying to get us out of it," Baez said of the umpire. "He was doing his job. He told me I have to get out of the way before the pitch was released, which I was doing. So I don't know why he was so hyper saying that.

"It didn't get me out of my game. I don't know what it did to them. It's part of the game."

The tension between Baez and LeMahieu rose after Arenado struck out while Baez effectively blocked LeMahieu's view of the catcher. Baez gloated a little to his teammates and wasn't shy about letting LeMahieu hear him.

"Right after the strikeout, I said to the outfield, 'You see the difference when they don't know the signs?'" Baez said. "And then [LeMahieu] said something. … We won the game, and the series."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.

Chicago Cubs, Javier Baez

Five-run 5th backs Anderson as Rox beat Cubs

Lefty recovers from rocky first to record quality start, with 6 K's
MLB.com

DENVER -- The Rockies have been relying on their pitching while waiting for the offense to heat up. On Saturday, it was starting pitcher Tyler Anderson who took time out from an effective night in his main job to spark the offense.

Anderson drew a two-out walk with a runner on base against Cubs starter Yu Darvish, who was nearly unhittable to that point, with two outs in the fifth to begin a five-run rally that led to a 5-2 victory at Coors Field.

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DENVER -- The Rockies have been relying on their pitching while waiting for the offense to heat up. On Saturday, it was starting pitcher Tyler Anderson who took time out from an effective night in his main job to spark the offense.

Anderson drew a two-out walk with a runner on base against Cubs starter Yu Darvish, who was nearly unhittable to that point, with two outs in the fifth to begin a five-run rally that led to a 5-2 victory at Coors Field.

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"That's a big situation with two outs where a lot of times, personally, I make that out and the inning is over," said Anderson, who battled back from an 0-2 count to draw the walk amid his six strong innings on the mound, allowing two runs on six hits with six K's.

Video: CHC@COL: Anderson works out a walk against Darvish

DJ LeMahieu followed Anderson's walk with an RBI double, Gerardo Parra added a two-run single, and after a Charlie Blackmon walk, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story each pushed in a run with a single and a double, respectively.

Video: CHC@COL: LeMahieu rips an RBI ground-rule double

Before the fifth, the Rockies had managed just one hit off Darvish, Arenado's single to right field in the fourth. Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. had robbed LeMahieu of extra bases on a drive to deep center in the third. But in the fifth, the Rockies rallied in a way that has been unusual for them this year.

Video: CHC@COL: Almora Jr. makes an incredible basket catch

They entered Saturday's game leading the National League with 28 home runs, but were last in the league in batting average (.219) and 14th in on-base percentage (.290). But when Mike Tauchman drew a one-out walk from Darvish and Anderson received his free pass with two down, the Rockies suddenly had the patient at-bats that had been missing.

"Like we talked about, stringing together hits, stringing together at-bats. We did it from Tauchman all the way down to our last out," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "That's what it takes. We haven't had that a lot this year. Hopefully that's the start of something big."

Parra was in a 2-for-12 slump before an opposite-way, lefty-vs.-lefty single off Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery in Friday night's 16-5 loss to the Cubs, and he felt that re-set his swing. The single up the middle that provided the tying and go-ahead runs confirmed his feeling.

Video: CHC@COL: Parra pokes a two-run single up the middle

"I feel more comfortable at home plate, and when you have a situation like that [Saturday], you help the team win," said Parra, who previously was 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position this year.

Story, who has taken criticism for his strikeouts (two Saturday, 30 in 22 games) but has six hits in his last 16 at-bats, with two doubles and four RBIs, said homers are nice, but innings like the fifth should happen consistently.

"It's always good to have a big inning like that, especially against a guy like Darvish," Story said. "It hasn't been great offensively lately, but we put some good at-bats together."

Video: CHC@COL: Story lines a two-out RBI double to left

Anderson (1-0) trailed 2-0 on Willson Contreras' first-inning, two-run double on a mislocated changeup. But Anderson went with his fastball and hard cutter and didn't give up any more runs despite seeing the leadoff man reach in five of his six innings. He benefited from solid defense.

"They were really aggressive yesterday, so you thought at first a little off-speed would be good, but they were on it," Anderson said. "So I figured, maybe change the game plan and attack."

In the second, Cubs third baseman David Bote -- a Denver-area high school product (Faith Christian Academy) -- doubled with one out on the second Major League p