The Cubs won consecutive games for the for the first time in nearly two weeks Saturday when they beat the Rockies. Chicago fell behind early due in part to a surprise starting pitching effort before rallying back and hanging on for a crucial victory.
Ian Happ gave his team the lead in the bottom of the 1st when he doubled home Nico Hoerner. Marcus Stroman returned to the rotation for the first time in two months and was roughly as sharp as he had been, allowing three runs in the top of the 2nd.
The Cubs finally got another run against Chris Flexen when Hoerner hit a sacrifice fly in the 5th to score Miles Mastrobuoni. Yan Gomes was able to tie the score the following frame when he doubled off of Jake Bird.
Rockies reliever Nick Mears walked the bases loaded on 13 pitches to begin the 7th, setting up the game-winning rally. Sidearmer Justin Lawrence took over and Cody Bellinger greeted him with a sac fly to give the North Siders a 4-3 advantage.
The Cubs did not add any more runs that inning and it almost proved very costly when Julian Merryweather loaded the bases with one out in the top of the 8th. Merryweather was able to buckle down and strike out two consecutive hitters to escape the jam.
Chicago added badly needed insurance runs in the bottom of the frame when Christopher Morel hit a solo home run and Hoerner singled home Mastrobouni to make it 6-3. José Cuas was able to lock down the save and give his team a very important win. (Box score)
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Things were getting pretty dicey for Merryweather in the 8th inning with his command abandoning him. Something clicked after a meeting on the mound with pitching coach Tommy Hottovy and the righty showcased nasty stuff to strike out the next two batters and keep the Cubs on top.
Why the Cubs Won
They were able to score on Colorado’s bad bullpen and they got quality innings of middle relief from Javier Assad.
Stats That Matter
- Assad kept his team in the game long enough for them to come back: 4 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 6 K, and 0 BB.
- Hoerner singled twice, walked twice, and had two RBIs on Saturday.
- Mastrobouni reached base three times and has been very good the last three games.
The Cubs are doing what they have to do and winning these games against the Rockies, thus putting pressure on the teams chasing them in the standings. Chicago once again controls their playoff destiny, but the past two weeks demonstrate how quickly that can slip away if you don’t win your games. If they can keep it going, we’ll get to have some October baseball.