Cubs Vs. Rockies: Colorado Uses Big 8th Inning To Defeat Cubs, 9-5, Takes Series

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Cubs Vs. Rockies Final Score: Dexter Fowler's Two-Out, Two-Run Double In 8th Leads Colorado To Victory

The Colorado Rockies took Sunday's game from the Chicago Cubs, 9-5, following an offensive explosion in the eighth inning. Tied at five after the fourth inning, the game plodded along until Ryan Spilborghs started the bottom of the eighth with a leadoff single. He moved over to third on a Jose Lopez double, but then Jose Morales and Ty Wigginton had back-to-back strike outs. That's when the real fun started.

Dexter Fowler doubled to plate Spilborghs and Lopez, and then he scored on a Jonathan Herrera single. Herrera advanced to second on the throw. Carlos Gonzalez singled in Herrera to put the Rockies up, 9-5. Huston Street came in to finish the game in a non-save situation. He allowed a leadoff single to Starlin Castro, but erased that when Darwin Barney lined out, leading to Castro being doubled off first.

Rockies rookie Alan Johnson made his first career major league start and fared as well as one could have hoped. He allowed five runs in four innings on six hits and three walks. Two of his three strikeouts resulted in Alfonso Soriano returning to the dugout. Matt Belisle, Matt Reynolds, Rafael Betancourt and Street held the Cubs to just four hits over the remaining six innings. Betancourt picked up the win.

Seth Smith hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first, but left later in the game after he suffered a tight groin. Carlos Gonzalez went 4-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored.

The Rockies (12-3) host the San Francisco Giants for a three-game series, starting Monday night. Esmil Rogers faces Tim Lincecum in the first game, but all eyes will be waiting for Tuesday's game. Ubaldo Jimenez returns to the mound following his Opening Day start and trip to the disabled list.

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Cubs Vs. Rockies: Alan Johnson Strikes Out Alfonso Soriano Twice, But Game Tied After Three Innings

If nerves got to Alan Johnson during the first inning of the Colorado Rockies' game with the Chicago Cubs, they were quieted on a double play in the first inning. After throwing a slide for his first major league strike, Starlin Castro wound up on first base following a single. Darwin Barney moved him to third and gave the Cubs runners on the corners. On a 3-2 pitch, Marlon Byrd hit into a run-scoring double play. Aramis Ramirez followed with a ground out to end the inning.

The Rockies answered right back with four runs of their own in the bottom of the first, taking a 4-1 lead. Carlos Gonzalez doubled in Jonathan Herrera, who walked in his plate appearance. Troy Tulowitzki, still looking for home run No. 100, flied out before Todd Helton singled in Gonzalez. Seth Smith immediately followed with his second home run of the season, a two-run shot.

In the second inning, Alan Johnson walked the leadoff hitter, Carlos Pena. He came around to score on a Geovany Soto two-out single. Johnson lived dangerously in the third inning as he walked Starlin Castro to start the inning Unfortunately, it was too fine a line to walk--Castro moved to second on a Darwin Barney second and then scored on an Aramis Ramirez single to left. An inning-ending double play appeared in reach when Johnny Herrera received Jose Lopez's throw at second base, but he botched the throw to Helton at first, allowing a run to score.

The teams are tied at four after three innings.

Johnson's first career strikeout came against Alfonso Soriano in the second inning, which he followed with a second whiff of Soriano in the third.

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Cubs Vs. Rockies: Alan Johnson Makes Big League Debut

The Colorado Rockies pick things up from their 8-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night with an afternoon game on Sunday. Long-time farmhand Alan Johnson will make his major league debut when he pitched the top of the first inning for the Colorado Rockies.

As a result of the double header on Thursday, the Rockies needed an extra pitcher, so the team moved Aaron Cook to the 60-day disabled list to open up a spot on the 40-man roster for Johnson. The right-handed pitcher has been with the Rockies since 2005, when he signed as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State.

At 27 years old, Johnson is not a prospect and he doesn't have the stuff to be more than fifth starter, if even that, but he's done his work over the last six seasons. He's advanced up the ladder each season, reaching Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2009. He spent 2010 there as well and returned to start 2011 there too. He will head back there after this spot start.

Will Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro make Johnson look foolish in his debut, as he did Felipe Paulino in Saturday night's game?

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Cubs Vs. Rockies Final Score: Chicago's Five-Run 7th Inning Sends Colorado To 8-3 Defeat

The Colorado Rockies and the Chicago Cubs played a close game for the first six innings, though the Cubs held a 3-1 lead at that point. When Felipe Paulino relieved Jason Hammel in the seventh inning, the game went downhill from there. Paulino allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning before surrendering a three-run home run to 21-year-old shortstop Starlin Castro.

Additional runs scored that inning on an Aramis Ramirez RBI single (Darwin Barney crossing the plate, having reached on a double) and a Kosuke Fukudome RBI single as well. The Cubs led 8-1 at that point. Franklin Morales allowed the Fukudome RBI play, but all five runs were charged to Paulino. Other than the inherited runner scoring, Morales threw 1 2/3 innings of three-hit ball.

In the eighth inning, the Rockies finally showed some offensive life again. After Ian Stewart walked, Chris Iannetta hammered a ball to left field for a home run, making the score 8-3. However, with two men on base, Jason Giambi struck out swinging to end the inning.

Rockies starter Jason Hammel allowed three runs (Alfonso Soriano RBI single, home run, Darwin Barney ground out) in six innings. However, his fastball was not working, and he had to rely on his changeup and curveball far too much.

The Rockies scored their first run of the game in the second inning when Troy Tulowitzki tripled and then crossed home plate on a Seth Smith sacrifice fly. Tulowitzki came out of the game for the last inning (nothing wrong, just time for some rest), which moved Jonathan Herrera over to short and gav backup Jose Morales some playing time at second base. The last out of the top of the ninth was a ground out to Morales, who barely got the throw to first base in time.

This was the Rockies' first loss this season in nine innings.

The Rockies (11-3) conclude their series with the Cubs (7-7) on Sunday afternoon with a 1:10 p.m. MT game. Alan Johnson makes his major league debut, while the Cubs trot out Ryan Dempster.

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Cubs Vs. Rockies Score: Chicago Leads, But Time Left For Rockies Comeback

The Cubs have a 3-1 lead after the sixth inning, while the Rockies squandered a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the fifth. For the Cubs, things picked up in the top of the fifth inning when pitcher Casey Coleman singled to center with one out. Coleman moved to third base on a Starlin Castro double and then scored on a Darwin Barney ground out.

Then in the sixth, Jason Hammel looked like he was ready to get out of the inning pretty quickly after a Carlos Pena ground out double play erased the Aramis Ramirez hit-by-pitch. Well, that is until Alfonso Soriano hit a deep fly ball to right field for a solo home run, giving the Cubs a 3-1 lead.

Jason Hammel has been unable to use his fastball effectively the entire game, relying on his changeup and curveball. He departs the game having allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk. He recorded five strikeouts.

Back up a half of an inning to the bottom of the fifth and we'll find a wasted opportunity by the Rockies. Dexter Fowler led off with a double to right field and then advanced to third when Koyie Hill attempted to throw him out at second base. The ball wound up in the outfield. Jonathan Herrera grounded out the pitcher before Jason Giambi was on first following a hit-by-pitch. Then Troy Tulowitzki popped out in foul territory on a 3-0 pitch, just to be followed by a Seth Smith ground out.

In the bottom of the sixth, Todd Helton pinch hit for Jason Hammel, but flied out, stranding a runner on second base.

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Cubs Vs. Rockies Score: Chicago, Colorado Tied Early; Troy Tulowitzki Hits Triple

Troy Tulowitzki continues to pound the ball early on this season, hitting a leadoff triple in the bottom of the second inning. He struck the ball to right field, sending Kosuke Fukudome running after it. However, Fukudome appeared to lose sight of it as he attempted a jumping catch for it. The ball hit off his glove and then the outfield wall before he crashed into the wall. When all was said and done, Tulowitzki stood on third base. He would score a batter later on a Seth Smith sacrifice fly, tying the game at one apiece.

Rockies starter Jason Hammel ran into a bit of trouble in the second inning, but received some help from Dexter Fowler. Hammel allowed a Carlos Pena single to start the inning and then saw Alfonso Soriano double to center field, plating the run. Hammel put Fukudome on through a walk before Koyie Hill flew out to center field. Soriano attempted to tag up and take third base, but Fowler was able to get the throw to third base well before Soriano slid into the bag. Casye Coleman struck out to end the inning.

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Cubs Vs. Rockies: Jason Hammel Seeks Rockies' 8th Straight Win

It is still early in this young season, but after Friday's 5-0 shutout of the Chicago Cubs, the Colorado Rockies still have the best record in the majors at 11-2. Jhoulys Chacin threw the first complete game shutout at Coors Field in nearly three years, but on Saturday night the Rockies will turn to Jason Hammel to keep things going.

The Rockies have won both games Hammel has started so far this season, but there is plenty of improvement for the fourth starter to make this season. He has allowed four runs in both starts and made it through six in his April 11 start against the Mets. And both times he needed the offense to show up as the Rockies won those game 7-5 and 7-6.

The Cubs will have Casey Coleman, who is making only his 10th career start, on the mound. Coleman is on the Cubs roster as a result of Randy Wells' right forearm strain. He made his season debut on April 10 against the Brewers, and it was nothing to write home about. Both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder hit a home run off Coleman, but he took a no-decision with a departure in the fifth inning.

With the way Troy Tulowitzki has seen the ball so far this season, Coleman will want to avoid giving up the gopher ball to another of the game's best hitters.

The Rockies go for their eighth straight victory at 6:10 p.m. MT. ROOT Sports will have the broadcast.

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Cubs Vs. Rockies Final Score: Jhoulys Chacin Throws Complete Game Shutout In 5-0 Victory Over Chicago

Jhoulys Chacin continued the Rockies' early pitching success, picking up his third win of the season in the team's 5-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs. For nine innings, Chacin dominated the Cubs in the club's best pitching performance of the season to date. Using 114 pitches, Chacin held the Cubbies to six hits and struck out seven of them. In the second and fourth innings, he allowed two singles each time, but a double play erased the first opportunity and the second ended on a fly out. In the bottom of the ninth, he walked Carlos Pena, but induced Alfonso Soriano into a game-ending double play.

This was the first complete game shutout at Coors Field since Aaron Cook accomplished it on July 1, 2008 against the San Diego Padres.

For all intents and purposes, this game was over in the second inning when Chris Iannetta smacked a bases-loaded triple to center field and scored on the play following a throwing error by Starlin Castro. The play started with back-to-back singles by Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton to start the inning, Seth Smith drew a walk before Jose Lopez struck out swinging with the bases loaded. And then with one out, Iannetta unloaded the biggest hit of the night. Todd Helton added and RBI single in the fifth inning.

First base umpire Jerry Layne was hit in the left foot on a line drive by Carlos Pena in the second inning and left the game early, forcing a three-man umpiring crew.

The Rockies (11-2, 1st NL West) and the Cubs continue the series on Saturday night at 6:10 p.m. MT. Jason Hammel faces Casey Coleman.

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Cubs Vs. Rockies Update: Chris Iannetta's Triple Puts Colorado Up Early

The Colorado Rockies aren't experiencing any letdown in Friday's game with the Cubs following their Thursday doubleheader sweep of the Mets. The Rockies lead, 4-0, after three innings of ball.

In the second inning, the Rockies struck for the first runs of the game when Chris Iannetta cleared the bases with a three-run triple and then scored on the same play after a throwing error by Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro. All of that started with a Troy Tulowitzki leadoff single, followed by a Todd Helton single and a Seth Smith walk. Jose Lopez, who had two career grand slams in his career, struck out swinging before Iannetta showed the big stick. Dexter Fowler doubled and Jonathan Herrera walked, but they were left stranded after Carlos Gonzalez hit into the inning-ending ground out to second.

Jhoulys Chacin worked quickly through the first three innings. He used 31 pitches to get nine outs, striking out three batters. He allowed two hits in the second inning, both singles, but a double play ended that threat.

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Cubs Vs. Rockies: Colorado Returns To Coors Field With Best Record In Majors

The Colorado Rockies return to Coors Field on Friday for a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs, but this current Rockies team is different than ones in previous Aprils. At 10-2, the Rockies have the best record in baseball and have done it by going 7-1 on their first road trip of the 2011 season. Naturally, the Rockies and their fans should be excited about what this team can do, but a little bit of cautious optimism should be used right now. Entire baseball seasons are not settled in the first 12 games of the season.

The Cubs (6-6, 3-3 road) just took two of three from the Houston Astros on the road. Against teams the Rockies have played this season, the Cubs are 1-2 against the Pirates and 2-3 against the Diamondbacks. Their 21-year-old shortstop, Starlin Castro, leads the team with a .389 batting average and a .911 OPS. Left fielder Alfonso Soriano has four home runs and 10 RBI. Their second baseman, Darwin Barney, is the equivalent of the Rockies' Jonathan Herrera--not quite the standard at the position, but gets the most out his abilities.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series:

Friday, April 15, 6:40 p.m. MT: Matt Garza vs. Jhoulys Chacin

Saturday, April 16, 6:10 p.m. MT: Casey Coleman vs. Jason Hammel

Sunday, April 17, 1:10 p.m. MT: Ryan Dempster vs. Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson will make his big league debut on Sunday because the doubleheader threw off the rotation. Aaron Cook was moved to the 60-day DL to open a space on the 40-man roster. Johnson was once infamously (at least to Purple Row) included by Woody Paige as part of a trio of minor league pitchers to get Roy Halladay in a Rockies uniform two years ago.

As it stands, the Rockies just keeping looking for wins. Coors Field should play well for them this weekend.

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