The Colorado Rockies won a pitcher’s duel against the Chicago Cubs, Sunday afternoon 2-0. You are not seeing things, that was really the score.
Tyler Chatwood didn’t allow a baserunner until he had two outs in the fifth. After a prolonged battle with Jorge Soler, the Cubs left-fielder stayed off a good slider away and drew the walk. Javier Baez followed with a single to left and the no-hit bid came to an end.
Chatwood was phenomenal but Jon Lester matched him sans one mistake to Nolan Arenado.
Arenado got the Rockies on the board with his fifth home run of the season, coming in the fourth inning against Lester. He hammered a line drive on the first pitch he saw and it looked like it would land several rows up, but on a day when the Chicago wind was knocking everything down, Arenado’s blast just barely cut through and landed in the basket in left.
The only Rockies who managed to reach base twice against Lester were Tony Wolters and Trevor Story, who decided to forgo hitting home runs for the moment, throwing out a single and an 8-pitch walk.
Lester finished with 7.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, and 10 K.
The Cubs starter tried to make his own offense against Chatwood, leading off the sixth inning with a double to right-center, the first extra-base-hit of his career. But Chatty buckled down and sandwiched two pop outs around a big strikeout of Jayson Heyward, stranding Lester at second for the entire inning.
Chatwood worked a clean seventh, finishing with 7 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, and 8 K. He threw 100 pitches, 63 for strikes.
Miguel Castro continued to look brilliant early in 2016, working a clean eighth that included a dominating punch-out of Miguel Montero. Drew Goodman of ROOT Sports was on fire today with good information, reminding us that Castro is the youngest player in the National League. Big spot for a young kid and he came through, seemingly unphased. It was Castro’s fourth Hold of the year.
Arenado was the entirety of the offense for either team, blasting his sixth home run of the year off of Justin Grimm in the ninth inning on a ball that was absolutely demolished.
Jake McGee got a little help on a spectacular defense play by Story. But he came through himself, striking out Kris Bryant –who represented the potential winning run — preserving the shutout and earning his third Save of the season.
You can’t win if you don’t score, so it’s hard not to look back at Arenado’s first home run as the turning point, but a lead-off double from the opposing pitcher in the sixth is exactly where the Rockies typically blow the game, but Chatwood buckled down, locked-in and turned what could have been a runaway inning into another shutout frame.
The only blemish on Lester’s day:
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) April 17, 2016
By the Numbers
3: The number of runs the Rockies pitching staff allowed in three games at Wrigley.
21: Carlos Gonzalez’ hit streak ended at 21 games. He went 0-for-4.
20: That’s how old Miguel Castro is. He’s 20.
2006: The Rockies haven’t won a three-game series in Chicago against the Cubs since 2006.
Quote of the Game
“That may be the worst throw to first base from a pitcher I have ever seen.” -Drew Goodman on the ROOT Sports broadcast in reference to a double-bouncer throw from Lester to get Brandon Barnes on a bunt attempt.
The Chicago Cubs came into the series not just heavy favorites agains the Rockies but favorites to go to the playoffs and even the World Weireis. Their offense came in clicking on all cylindars but was absolutely shut down by … Rockies pitching? It’s true, after deservedly coming under fire for allowing a mountain of runs in their first three series, the Rockies staff came alive against one of the best in the NL.
The Cubs had won six consecutive series and the Rockies halted that streak. This kind of win can be a big confidence booster for a young team early especially considering how good the pitching was. The Rockies staff combined for a 1.00 ERA in the series.
The Rockies are off to Cincinnatti to face the Reds. First pitch tomorrow (Monday) at 5:10 MST. Jordan Lyles gets the rock against Alfredo Simon.