CHICAGO -- Matt Garza blamed himself because of his throwing error in the fifth. Darwin Barney said it was his fault for not executing a bunt in the sixth. Starlin Castro was simply looking forward to a new day.
It was a tough night Monday at Wrigley Field.
Barney hit his first Major League homer, but Castro committed three errors in one inning, resulting in three unearned runs, and Garza's throwing miscue in the fifth led to the tie-breaking run as the Rockies beat the mistake-prone Cubs, 5-3.
"If you're going to get beat, you at least would not like to gift wrap the [darn] thing for the opposition," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "It's great to have talent, it's great to have exciting kids, great to play like a son of a gun, but if you can't execute, you can't make plays, you can't execute offensively, you can't tack on runs after a big first, you're going to get beat and you're going to get beat on a regular basis."
The Cubs outhit the Rockies, 11-4, including a single-game career-high five by Kosuke Fukudome, who celebrated his 34th birthday a day early. But they also went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Garza (0-3) struck out seven and gave up three hits over six innings but remains winless in five starts.
"It is what it is," Garza said. "I accomplished what I wanted to do except throw that ball away in the fifth. I kept the ball in the yard, kept the ball on the ground and pitched effectively -- not enough to win, but it's going to come."
The Cubs got off to a good start. Barney, who hit 10 homers over four Minor League seasons, connected in the first. Fukudome singled to lead off, and Barney then launched an 0-2 pitch from Esmil Rogers (3-1) into the basket rimming the left-field bleachers. The Cubs loaded the bases, and Alfonso Soriano added a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
The lead was short-lived because of Castro's nightmarish second. Troy Tulowitzki was safe on a fielding error by Castro, who had trouble picking up the ball. The chilly 43-degree game-time temperature and steady drizzle contributed to the misplay. One out later, Seth Smith singled, and then Jose Lopez hit a grounder to Castro, who gloved the ball but then dropped it. Tulowitzki scored on the mistake.
The ball found Castro again as Chris Iannetta hit a grounder to the shortstop, who threw to second, trying for a force, but the ball sailed into the visitor's bullpen and two more runs scored to tie the game at 3. Castro also made three errors in his first game at Wrigley Field last May 10. It's the first time a Cubs player committed three in one inning since Jamie Navarro did so Aug. 18, 1996, against the Astros.
"I caught the ball and it was kind of wet," Castro said. "I tried to make the play. It's one of those things."
Tulowitzki could empathize.
"I'll be the first one to say, especially with the weather conditions, it could've easily happened to me," the Rockies shortstop said.
"Those balls were really wet," Barney said. "The wind was blowing and the rain's coming down sideways. [Castro] made the plays after that and showed some maturity there."
The Rockies had runners at first and second with none out in the fifth when Jonathan Herrera bunted toward third. Garza fielded the ball and overthrew first for an error, allowing the tie-breaking run to score. Another run tallied on Carlos Gonzalez's groundout.
"We lost tonight because I can't throw the ball to first base," Garza said. "If I throw the ball to first, it's a 3-3 ballgame and we're still playing. They spotted me three [runs] and we had some hiccups in the second, but that ball thrown away -- you can't do that. I think that was more the turning point than anything."
Barney was mad at himself for not executing a bunt in the sixth, when the Cubs had runners at first and second and none out. The Rockies were shifting their defense, and Barney was given the bunt sign but he also could try and slug the ball to right. Instead, he popped up.
"Every ball that was bunted today was thrown somewhere crazy," Barney said. "I made a terrible decision and I have to live with it, own up to it, and it won't happen again."
"That's a read for the hitter," Quade said. "The one thing he can't do is what he did, which is pop it up."
It's part of the growing pains. The Cubs now have lost two in a row; they are the only Major League team to have neither a winning streak or losing streak longer than two games this year.
"We played to the conditions and they didn't," Quade said. "This is our place, and we've got to find a way to play better baseball here, I don't care if it's raining or snow, I don't care what's going on.
"That's a bad loss, that's a real bad loss."
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.