By MICHAEL KELLY Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — Yan Gomes hit a two-run single in the ninth inning and Michael Fulmer stepped up at the very end, helping the Chicago Cubs top the Colorado Rockies 5-4 on Monday night.
Gomes finished with three hits and three RBIs. Christopher Morel homered and Dansby Swanson had two hits for Chicago in the opener of a six-game trip.
The Cubs stayed three games back of NL Central-leading Milwaukee and two games head of Arizona for the second NL wild card.
“Coming out here to Colorado anything can happen at any time,” Gomes said. “Big ballpark, ball travels well, so runs aren’t exactly hard to come by. At this time of the year those wins are important. It’s a good sign for this team that even when we’re behind until that last out we’re going to give us a chance to win.”
Drew Smyly (11-9) got four outs for the win, and Fulmer earned his second save of the season in his first big league appearance since Aug. 24.
Fulmer, who had been sidelined by a forearm strain, replaced Smyly with one out in the ninth. He walked Elias Díaz and hit Elehuris Montero with a pitch before striking out Harold Castro and Brenton Doyle.
Colorado left-hander Kyle Freeland was charged with three runs and eight hits over six innings.
The Rockies scored three times in the seventh to take a 4-3 lead. Hunter Goodman doubled home Díaz and then scored on Doyle’s two-run single against José Cuas.
The Cubs rallied against Tyler Kinley (0-2) in the ninth. Swanson led off with a double off the glove of left fielder Nolan Jones and Ian Happ walked. Following a double steal, Gomes drove in both runners with a liner to center.
“Yan has been consistent,” manager David Ross said. “There was a good two-, three-week stretch there where he wasn’t getting any results but he’s hit the ball hard.”
Pete Crow-Armstrong, one of baseball’s top prospects, made his big league debut for Chicago. He entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and was thrown out trying to steal third. He stayed in the game in center field.
“It was awesome,” Cubs starter Jordan Wicks said of Crow-Armstrong. “Having played with him at every step of the way he deserves it. He’s a hard worker, he’s a heck of a player and he’s awesome to have out there.”
Wicks permitted one run and three hits in six innings in his fourth major league start. He retired his last eight batters.
Morel gave Chicago a 2-1 lead with his 22nd homer, a solo drive to center with two out in the fifth. Gomes singled in Cody Bellinger in the sixth, but Seiya Suzuki was cut down at the plate by Jones for the final out of the inning.
Jones lamented his failed attempt at catching Swanson’s double leading off the ninth.
“I made a mistake,” Jones said. “The ball should have been caught and it cost us the game. It sucks. I want to make that play, I want to win every game we can but there are a lot of positives.”
Cubs: Wicks took a line drive off his leg in the second. … INF Jeimer Candelario rested after he left Sunday’s win over Arizona with back tightness.
Rockies: OF Kris Bryant (finger) was activated from the injured list, and utilityman Cole Tucker was designated for assignment.
DOWN TO THREE
The game was delayed approximately 15 minutes in the third inning when plate umpire Brian O’Nora left for an undisclosed reason. Second base umpire Tom Hanahan went off to put on gear and took over behind the plate. The game resumed with just three umpires.
The Cubs will send RHP Javier Assad (3-3, 2.83 ERA) to the mound against Colorado RHP Chris Flexen (1-7, 7.36 ERA) on Tuesday.
By MICHAEL KELLY Associated Press