DENVER — Nolan Arenado was initially called safe when he tried to score on a bases-loaded pitch that bounced to the backstop, then was ruled out on a video review that ended a 9-7 win for the Chicago Cubs over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
Cubs star Kris Bryant left in the first inning after he was hit on the head with a 96 mph pitch from German Marquez. The ball made a loud sound as it hit off the underside of the flap of his helmet, and it was not immediately clear how much direct contact it made his Bryant’s head. Cubs spokesman Peter Chase said Bryant passed tests and had no sign of a concussion.
David Dahl’s two-out walk against Brandon Morrow loaded the bases in the ninth, and Morrow bounced an 0-2 slider that ricocheted off the mitt of catcher Willson Contreras. The ball bounced to the third-base side of the plate, Contreras grabbed it after a rebound off the low, brick wall and threw a perfect strike to Morrow, who tagged Arenado on the right ankle as the foot cross the plate.
Umpire Cory Blaser signaled safe, but the call was reversed about 90 seconds later and the Cubs jogged out of their dugout to celebrate. Morrow got his fourth save.
Tommy La Stella, Kyle Schwarber and Victor Caratini hit RBI singles later in the first off Marquez (1-2). Baez’s seventh homer made it 4-0 in the second and Jason Heyward had a two-run single in the third for a 6-0 lead.
Jose Quintana (2-1) allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven, raising his big league total to 1,004.
Trevor Story hit a two-run triple in the third on a fly ball Heyward loss in the sun, and home runs on consecutive pitches by Charlie Blackmon and Arenado cut the Rockies’ deficit to 6-4 in the fifth. Each team scored three runs in the seventh.
Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra dropped his appeal and began serving a four-game suspension from his part in a bench-clearing brawl against San Diego on April 11. The Rockies cannot fill his active roster spot during the suspension but they did recalled outfielders David Dahl and Noel Cuevas from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned outfielder Michael Tauchman to the Isotopes.
Cubs: CF Albert Almora Jr. was briefly down after making a diving catch on Arenado’s drive in the first inning. He was attended to by trainers but stayed in the game. He crashed into the wall after making a running catch of Blackmon starting the bottom of the ninth.
Rockies: OF Carlos Gonzalez was placed on the 10-day DL with a right hamstring strain, retroactive to Thursday.
Cubs: LHP Tyler Chatwood (0-3, 4.60) is to open a three-game series in Cleveland on Tuesday night.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (3-0, 1.44) is on the mound when the Rockies start a three-game home series against San Diego on Monday night.
For the Chicago Cubs, and their legions of fans who turned Coors Field into Wrigley Field West, Sunday afternoon was a party topped off by a wild 9-7 victory.
The game ended when Nolan Arenado was thrown out at home attempting to score from third with two out and the bases loaded on a would-be wild pitch by relief pitcher Brandon Morrow. Catcher Wilson Contreras threw to Morrow, who applied the tag. Arenado was called safe by the home plate umpire but a replay review overturned the call and the game was over.
For the Rockies, who fell to 3-6 at home in front of a sellout crowd of 48,137, it was a messy affair.
Case in point: A seventh-inning bunt by Steve Cishek when the Rockies failed to cover first base. The miscue loaded the bases and helped set up three Chicago runs, the big hit being a two-run double by the sizzling Javier Baez.
At 9-4, the game seemed out of reach, but back came the Rockies, who scored three runs in the seventh. The key hit was a line-drive single by David Dahl off the leg of reliever Carl Edwards Jr. to score Arenado. Edwards’ throwing error to first allowed Trevor Story to score.
Chicago’s ace in the hole was center fielder Albert Almora, who three times robbed the Rockies of hits with sensational catches, including a running grab in the ninth off a Charlie Blackmon drive that ended with Almora crashing into the wall. Singles by Arenado and Trevor Story and a walk to Dahl loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth against Morrow, leading to the game’s odd ending with Ian Desmond at bat.
Colorado, dazed by the Cubs’ early, six-run onslaught against starter German Marquez, managed to regain its balance and rally. In a two-run third singles by DJ LeMahieu and Blackmon, followed up by a two-run triple off the bat of Story that right fielder Jason Heyward lost in the sun.
Colorado cut the lead to 6-4 in the fifth on back-to-back homers by Blackmon and Arenado.
Marquez, who’s been an elevator so far this season, hit the bottom floor Sunday. He hit Cubs star third baseman Kris Bryant in the helmet with a 96 mph fastball in the first inning, which seemed to unnerve Marquez. Bryan left the game and suffered a cut to his face, but he did not suffer a concussion.
The Cubs quickly retaliated by scoring three runs. A solo home run by Baez in the second, followed by a two-run Chicago third doomed Marquez. He pitched 3 ⅓ innings, having given up six runs on eight hits.
In Jon Gray’s three starts, he has had two bad outings and one good. In the good outing, Tony Wolters was the catcher behind the plate. Is this a coincidence or should Wolters be Gray’s personal catcher? — Aaron Hurt, Omaha, Nebraska
Aaron, that’s a good question, because I think it’s true that sometimes – I emphasize, sometimes – a pitcher thrives when he has a “personal” catcher behind the plate.
In this case, I don’t think it’s true. Gray’s inability to evolve into the starter the Rockies hope he’ll become rests on Gray’s shoulders.
You are right in noting that in Gray’s one good start — at San Diego when he pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits – Wolters was behind the plate. However, I don’t think there is a trend.
In my opinion, Gray’s problem is a lack of execution and a lack of focus in key moments. He’s got the pitches to take the next step, but does he have the other “stuff?” We’re still waiting to find out.
Ok, I have seen enough of Trevor Story. It has only been two games but enough is enough. When are the Rockies going to send him down to Triple-A and bring up Brendan Rodgers? If the Rockies are serious about contending this year, then they need to make the appropriate moves. — Victor, Alameda, Calif.
Still, I’m getting this question a lot. There is no question that Story is struggling and he’s been striking out at an alarming and unacceptable rate. He’s batting .200 (13-for-65) with 26 strikeouts (40 percent).
On the plus side, Story has hit four homers and has been playing excellent defense. So it’s way too early to bail on Story.
But the big flaw in your argument rests on the idea that Brendan Rodgers is ready to be a full-time big-leaguer. He’s not. Check out a recent report from my colleague, Kyle Newman, about Rodgers’ slow start at Double-A Hartford.
Fans often think that a big impression during spring training and big numbers in the minors means a prospect is ready for success in the majors. It’s simply not true. The pitching in the majors is light years ahead of pitching in the minors.
Story knows this himself. In 2016, he broke out in historic fashion, but now that there is a book out on him, he’s struggling.
Hey Patrick, nice job as always. I wanted your opinion on the young season so far. Seems as though some of the same issues have rolled over to this year. Thanks. — Tony, Denver
Tony, that a huge, all-encompassing question, but let me fire off a few thoughts: • The biggest challenge facing this team remains starting pitching. There is a lot of promise here (German Marquez was excellent Monday on a cold night in Pittsburgh). But overall, the starters have been inconsistent and they have to start going deeper into games or the bullpen will be fried by the all-star break. • Although Ian Desmond and Trevor Story have delivered huge homers over the last two games, I have concerns about the bottom half of the order. Simply put, the Rockies need more consistent production from players other than Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado and Chris Iannetta. • The bullpen is as good as advertised. Better, actually, because Adam Ottavino has been sensational. • I like the makeup of the team. It’s a selfless, hard-nose group.
Is it time for the Rockies to send Gray down for an attitude adjustment? He said he wants to pitch 200-plus inning. Well, he has a long way to go if he wants to reach that goal. — Keith, Aurora
Keith, please see my comments above on Gray. But to your point: “Sending him down,” won’t accomplish anything. Gray could go down and blow Triple-A hitters away with his pure stuff. That’s not the problem. He’s got to learn how to shut down big-league lineups on a consistent basis, learn how to succeed when he doesn’t have his best stuff, and learn how to thrive despite adversity.
I just don’t get it. Why is David Dahl still in Triple-A? He should be starting every game in left fielder for the Rockies right now. — Andy, Littleton
Andy, I’m a big David Dahl fan and I thought he should have made the 25-man roster out of spring training. The Rockies thought otherwise, in part because they wanted Dahl to get more at-bats at Triple-A after missing not playing a single game at the majors last season.
Now, Dahl’s timeline has been slowed by a stomach illness that landed him on the seven-day disabled list at Triple-A. It’s going to be a while longer before the Rockies consider calling him up.
PITTSBURGH — In the fourth inning of Monday night’s game, Trevor Story put a perfect swing on Steven Brault’s hanging slider, driving the ball over the left-field wall at PNC Park for a three run homer in Colorado’s 6-2 win over the Pirates. The baseball shot off Story’s bat at 111.6 mph.
Sunday, at Nationals Park in Washington, the Rockies shortstop struck out four times in four at-bats.
Story entered Tuesday night’s game against the Pirates batting .200, with a 40-percent strikeout rate (26 whiffs in 60 at-bats), but with four home runs. He has mirrored the Rockies’ offense in the early part of the season: Lots of power, lack of consistency and hints of what could be.
But perhaps Colorado’s offense is beginning to heat up throughout the order. Tuesday night, with game-time temperatures in the low 30s, Colorado took a 2-0 lead when Story hit a fourth-inning double to left, advancing Ian Desmond to third. Desmond scored on rookie Ryan McMahon’s single, just the third hit and second RBI of the season for McMahon. It was the type of chain-link team offense Colorado has been searching for this spring.
“It’s been a little bit lighter than what we expect, for sure,” manager Bud Black said when asked to assess his club’s offense. “I think that will turn. The home run has saved us a little bit, for sure.
“I don’t see ourselves as a big power team. We have power, I think we have balance and I do think that eventually we will get to that batting line of power, average and much better on-base (percentage).”
But that balance has thus far eluded the Rockies, even though they’d won five of six games entering Tuesday, in large part because of strong pitching (2.72 ERA over the six-game stretch), solid defense and timely hits.
Colorado entered Tuesday’s game with 26 home runs, the most in the National League. Impressively, 19 of those homers have come away from Coors Field.
Conversely, the Rockies’ .218 team batting average ranked last in the NL, as did their .286 on-base percentage. Their .223 average with runners in scoring position ranked 12th and their 168 strikeouts were the second most in the NL.
“Right now, it’s not happening, but the power is showing up, and it’s helped us win games,” Black said. “Power is a good thing, but truly, on-base is paramount to score runs. We have to do a better job of that. I think we will get there.”
Story’s early-season slump was getting deep before he broke out Monday night. He batted 1-for-15 with 10 strikeouts at Washington, yet Colorado took three of four from the Nationals. After his home run Monday night, Story added a single for just his second multihit game of the season, hiking his average from .177 to .200.
Patience, persistence and practice is Story’s mantra.
“There are a lot of hidden things that go into hitting but, for me, it’s just trying to keep consistent, especially in my cage work, my pregame work,” Story said. “You’re going to have ups and downs in this game, and you’ve got to be able to handle them.”
Arenado swung wildly at Perdomo after he reached the mound, but none of his punches landed squarely.
“It’s hard not to react a certain way when you know someone’s trying to do something on purpose. It is what it is,” Arenado said. “Obviously, five games — you don’t want to fight. That’s not why we’re playing this game. But 96 [mph] at you on purpose, you get frustrated.”
The brawl came during a tense series that included three batters being hit by pitches before the benches-clearing incident. San Diego’s Manuel Margot was hit first and ended up on the disabled list.
The suspensions were effective Friday, pending appeals by the players. The Padres hosted the San Francisco Giants on Friday night.
SAN DIEGO (AP) – NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon made a long-term commitment to the Colorado Rockies rather than test next season’s free-agent market, agreeing to a contract that guarantees $108 million over six seasons.
The two-time All-Star center fielder had agreed in January to a $14 million, one-year deal. The agreement announced Wednesday calls for a $2 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of the deal’s approval by the commissioner’s office, a $12 million salary this year and $21 million in each of the next three seasons.
Blackmon has player options of $21 million for 2022 and $10 million for 2023, and his 2023 salary can escalate up to $5 million based on plate appearances in 2022: $500,000 each for 400, 425, 450, 475, 500 and 525, and $1 million apiece for 550 and 575.
His 2023 salary would increase by $2 million if he is among the top three in MVP voting from 2018-22 and by $1 million if he finishes fourth or fifth. The 2023 salary is capped at $18 million.
As part of the deal negotiated by agents Sam and Seth Levinson, Blackmon can list 15 teams each season he can’t be traded to without his consent.
The deal follows an offseason in which many top free agents struggled to find lucrative long-term deals.
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