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
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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 pitch he saw in his debut. But catcher Tony Wolters, who would later make a strong throw to thwart an Anthony Rizzo bunt-for-a-hit attempt, caught Bote trying to steal third to complete a double play as Darvish struck out.
In the top of the fifth, Arenado fielded a Javier Baez grounder and slickly tagged Almora, who was trying to advance from second to third, then threw to first for the double play.
• Defensive gems by Arenado, Wolters spark Rox
Jake McGee, Adam Ottavino and former Cubs closer Wade Davis (ninth save) quelled the Cubs after Anderson departed.
Righty German Marquez (1-1, 4.34 ERA) was effective with his fastball-curveball mix in his last start, holding the Pirates to two runs and two hits in six innings. Now the Cubs, whom he will face Sunday in the series finale at 1:10 p.m. MT, have something to think about. After throwing his fastball 57 percent of his pitches in his first three starts, he threw it just 44.3 percent of the time vs. the Pirates and thrived. The Cubs will start lefty Jose Quintana (1-1, 8.16).
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.