DENVER -- The Cubs need to get Matt Garza some runs.
For the second time this season, Garza and the Cubs were shut out, losing 5-0 on Friday to the red-hot Rockies. Chris Iannetta tripled and scored on a throwing error by shortstop Starlin Castro, and Jhoulys Chacin threw his first Major League shutout and complete game to lift the Rockies, now 11-2, the best record in the Major Leagues.
Garza was coming off a 6-0 loss to the Brewers in his last start. He's not getting much support.
"We have to do a better job," Marlon Byrd said. "We have to get him runs. It seems like the innings we did get to Chacin, he kept making pitches and going a little bit slower and slower and threw us off. We have to come back tomorrow and bounce back, but his next start, we need to put up a five-spot."
Aramis Ramirez went 3-for-4, including a double off the right-field scoreboard in the sixth, for the Cubs' only offensive highlights. Chacin (3-0) limited Chicago to six hits and struck out seven.
"What a good-looking young pitcher," Cubs manager Mike Quade said of the Rockies' right-hander. "To have that kind of repertoire in this kind of ballpark and everything else, he was good. We created one, maybe two opportunities. I was impressed."
Garza (0-2) entered the game ranked among the National League leaders in both hits allowed and strikeouts. He had his hands full with the Rockies, even though they had returned home around midnight MT Thursday after a doubleheader sweep against the Mets in New York. They showed no signs of jet lag.
Garza efficiently retired the first three batters. But the Rockies loaded the bases in the second on singles by Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton and a walk to Seth Smith.
Garza then struck out Jose Lopez, but Iannetta cleared the bases when he lofted the ball to center over Byrd's outstretched glove. The ball rolled to the wall for a triple, the ninth of Iannetta's career. Castro's relay throw then sailed into the Cubs' dugout for an error and Iannetta trotted home to make it 4-0. Quade called Castro's miscue an "error of inexperience."
"I think he was focused on possibly relaying home, and got his feet set for home and tried to make a quick throw to third," Quade said.
Iannetta was just trying to get at least one run in.
"After the strikeout, I knew he was going to try to get ahead of me, not necessarily with the fastball, but I knew he was going to try to get ahead," Iannetta said, "so I was looking for a pitch to hit. He left it over the plate. I at least wanted to get one run in on a sac fly, worst-case scenario.
"I barreled it up and got it over his head and I just kept running," Iannetta said.
Byrd never touched the ball.
"I need to be a little bit taller," he said.
Chicago's center fielder was playing a little shallow because the bases were full.
"Runner in scoring position, I play a little shallow and try to cut down a guy," Byrd said. "With the bases loaded, you're thinking Garza is going to get a ground ball, hopefully. Slider down, Iannetta put a good swing on it and beat me.
"It's one of those you look at it, 'Would I play deeper?' It's a Catch-22," Byrd said. "You want to play deeper but at the same time, he hits the ground ball up the middle and I don't throw the guy out. It's one of those things, I have to get a better jump next time."
Helton added a two-out RBI single in the fifth off Garza, who gave up seven hits and two walks over six innings.
"You could tell he's a very good pitcher, that's evident," Iannetta said of Garza. "It was a tough at-bat. He's got really good stuff. He just fell behind and left a lot of balls over the plate when, if he made some pitches, it would have been nothing nothing, or a one-run game."
Despite the loss, Quade was encouraged by Garza's performance.
"He just keeps competing," Quade said. "As long as he's making pitches with that mindset, he'll be fine. It hasn't been a great start for him and he knows that, but he's still working and I still believe he'll be a [heck] of a pitcher on this club and in this rotation."
In his three starts, Garza now has 25 strikeouts over 18 2/3 innings. All five of his punchouts on Friday came on offspeed pitches.
"I mixed my pitches a lot today," he said. "It's going to turn, it's going to turn -- I know it is. I know it's a long season and it's going to turn. I have to keep going out there and keep battling, and that's about it. That's all I can do.
"I can't look for some secret answers or guru stuff," he said. "I have to keep throwing. I missed with one pitch today and gave up a bases-clearing [triple]. That's all. Just keep going, keep battling and keep going out there."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.