Mike Montgomery made his first start in a Cubs’ uniform tonight – he’s pitched 8 1/3 innings in relief for the Cubs since arriving via trade on July 20 – and he was much better than I, or likely anyone else, expected. He pitched better than I’d expect from pretty much anyone short of Jake Arrieta. He was that good.
Over his 4 1/3 innings and 60 pitches, he surrendered one hit. It was a home run that got blasted over the left field wall, a no-doubter. Make no mistake – or maybe just one mistake – Montgomery was superb and deserves a ‘hats off’ for a compelling performance.
The Cubs offense took a few innings to get going, but once it did, the runs started to pour in.
They scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning. Kris Bryant started off the Cubs’ scoring with a single to drive in Dexter Fowler, who’d singled and advanced to third on a pick-off attempt that turned into a throwing error. Ben Zobrist added an RBI double and then Miguel Montero hit a two-out, two run single to cap off the scoring.
Things didn’t get any easier for the Rockies. In the top of the fifth inning the Cubs added three more runs. They all three came on a towering, 469 foot Kris Bryant home run. And, in case you haven’t noticed, Kris is tearing it up lately, to the point that you don’t want to miss watching even one of his at-bats. Fun stuff.
Trevor Cahill came on in relief of Montgomery in the fifth inning. Clearly Joe didn’t intend on having Mike go any further and may have taken him out sooner had he not had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning. When Cahill came on he picked up right where Montgomery left off.
Cahill only stumbled a little, in the bottom of the sixth inning, when he allowed a run on two singles. That was the only time the Rockies had anything going. In fact, they didn’t really have anything going all night long, finishing the night 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
The Cubs win big, 9-2 (Box Score).
Stats that mattered
- Montgomery was much better than hoped for – 4.1IP, 1R, 1H, 2BB, 5Ks, HR
- Cahill was excellent as well – 4.2Ip, 1R, 4H, 1BB, 4Ks
- Kris Bryant is on a tear – 2-for-5, 2R, 4RBI, HR
- Ben Zobrist had a great night – 3-for-5, 3R, 2RBI, 2B, HR
Tonight’s game was a nearly perfect night if you’re a Cubs fan. Two pitchers from the bullpen combine to pitch a five hit, two run game on a night where the rest of the Cubs’ bullpen really, really needed the rest. You could not have asked for anything more than Montgomery and Cahill did tonight.
The offense continues to click too. They’ve now played 18 straight games where they’ve scored at least three runs or more.
The Cubs close out the series against the Rockies tomorrow at 3:10 PM CT. Jason Hammel (13-5, 2.75 ERA) will take the ball for the Cubs as they go for the series win.