By MICHAEL KELLY Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — Kris Bryant went deep for the second straight game, one of four home runs by Colorado, and the Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs 7-3 on Wednesday for their first series win in a month.
Nolan Jones and Elehuris Montero each hit a two-run homer in a four-run fifth, and Ryan McMahon homered and finished with three hits for the Rockies, who took two of three from the playoff-contending Cubs. Colorado hadn’t won a series since taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox from Aug. 18-20.
“We’ve talked about the integrity of the season and integrity of these games, not only for us against them,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Other teams are watching our game. And I’ve told the guys that there’s going to be a time that we’re going to be watching other guys, making sure that so and so is playing their lineup and playing hard and doing everything they can to win.”
Nico Hoerner tied his career best with four hits and Miguel Amaya and Ian Happ each had two hits for Chicago, which dropped the final two games at Colorado to lose ground on NL Central-leading Milwaukee. The Cubs (78-69) continue to hold the second NL wild-card spot after playing 27 games in 27 days.
“We’re at the back end of the season and we went 16-11 in 27 games, so that’s pretty good,” manager David Ross said. “Keep the big picture at hand.”
Ty Blach (3-1) gave up nine hits in five innings but held the Cubs in check, allowing three runs. Gavin Hollowell worked two scoreless innings and Tyler Kinley, the fourth Colorado reliever, got the last five outs for his third save.
“I love being in that situation, so I feel right at home right there because that’s what I want to do,” Kinley said. “I want to pick the guys up and want to get us out of that situation.”
Cubs starter Jameson Taillon (7-10) came in 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two career starts against Colorado, including a complete game at Coors Field on Aug. 7, 2018, when he was with Pittsburgh.
He allowed just one hit through three innings before Colorado scored a run in the fourth and took the lead in the fifth.
Jones tied it with a two-run homer, his 16th of the season, and with two outs, left fielder Happ dropped Bryant’s drive to the warning track for an error. Montero homered on the next pitch to put the Rockies ahead 5-3.
Taillon allowed five runs — three earned — in five innings.
“This is a pretty aggressive lineup. I know they’re going to come out swinging and they know I’m around the zone a lot,” Taillon said. “It’s strength on strength. We were executing early in counts and it felt like later I knew they were going to be aggressive and I just wasn’t making the pitches.”
Bryant led off the seventh with his 10th homer and McMahon also hit a solo shot in the seventh, his 22nd.
The Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but Kinley induced two flyouts to keep it a four-run lead.
“That was the game right there — bases loaded, one out,” Black said.
Chicago got a run in the first on Cody Bellinger’s sacrifice fly and scored two more in the third when Hoerner and Bellinger led off with singles and Dansby Swanson doubled to drive in Hoerner. Bellinger came home on Seiya Suzuki’s sacrifice fly.
Cubs: RHP Marcus Stroman (right hip inflammation) was scheduled to throw a bullpen in Arizona on Wednesday. Stroman has been on the 15-day injured list since Aug. 2.
Cubs: LHP Justin Steele (16-3, 2.49 ERA) will open a three-game series at Arizona on Friday night.
Rockies: RHP Chase Anderson (0-5, 6.49) starts his third game since coming off the IL when Colorado hosts San Francisco on Thursday night.
By MICHAEL KELLY Associated Press