video thumbnail

COL@CHC: Barnes hits RBI single to left for the lead

CHICAGO -- Brandon Barnes perpetrated a simple, positive act that went a long way toward restoring baseball order.

Barnes waited on Wesley Wright's knuckle curve and lashed a bases-loaded single into left field to drive in the Rockies' go-ahead run in the 10th inning in a 6-4 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field in front of 29,491.

Had Barnes not come through with the bases full, with Drew Stubbs scoring shortly afterward on a wild pitch by Wright, the Rockies would have continued to do their best to disprove the adage that starting pitching is a key to winning.

Lefty Brett Anderson added to the strong recent rotation work with nine strikeouts in seven innings, during which he gave up 11 hits but no walks and just two runs. The Rockies' starters' ERA since the All-Star break, which going into Wednesday was the National League's best over that period, is 2.66.

Because Barnes was clutch -- on a night when the Rockies suffered 15 strikeouts, or just three fewer than in Tuesday night's 4-3 loss in 16 innings -- the Rockies could celebrate their pitching.

"That's my favorite spot in the game," Barnes said. "When there's a lot of pressure on the pitcher, it's the time to shine for me. The opportunity to get a big hit is what this game is all about, to come through for the team."

The Rockies led, 4-2, with two out in the eighth when center fielder Drew Stubbs pulled up in front of the ivy-adorned wall and dropped Starlin Castro's fly ball. The next hitter, Luis Valbuena, launched a Tommy Kahnle changeup into the left-field bleachers. It set the stage for yet another extra-inning game.

"It seems like it's been Murphy's Law around here, so it was nice to see us fight for that win," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "They haven't been coming easy, and this one wasn't easy tonight. But it felt good to get the W."

The Rockies pulled all they could from a bullpen depleted by Tuesday's lengthy contest.

Rob Scahill (1-0), called up Wednesday from Triple-A Colorado Springs, threw a scoreless bottom of the ninth with one hit and one strikeout. Adam Ottavino, closing so the Rockies could rest LaTroy Hawkins after his work Tuesday, earned his first career save.

"I knew going into the game that I would close for 'Hawk'," Ottavino said. "I was aware of it, but I didn't try to think anything different."

Anderson missed three months with a broken left index finger and gave up six runs (five earned) in the first inning of his return. Since then, however, he's given up three runs, two earned, in 21 1/3 innings. Nonetheless, he has been rewarded with just one win because of unproductive offense and bullpen gaffes.

On Wednesday, he induced double-play grounders in the first, second and third innings and maintained control.

"Going into the game the bullpen was taxed after yesterday and I set out to pitch as efficiently as possible," Anderson said. "There seemed like there were men on first and second in every inning, but the double plays helped me out early."

Before the Cubs scored with two out in the fifth -- Ryan Sweeney reached on a sharp single that eluded second baseman DJ LeMahieu and scored on John Baker's double -- Anderson had completed 13 1/3 scoreless innings.

Anderson and fellow lefty Jorge De La Rosa have spearheaded this rotation surge. Both names have surfaced in rumors as the non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches on Thursday afternoon. But efforts like Anderson's Wednesday and De La Rosa's for the last several years have the Rockies likely to pick up Anderson's $12 million option for next season and make a $14 million qualifying offer to De La Rosa for next year in hopes of keeping him from walking as a free agent.

A Rockies offense that scored three first-inning runs but didn't score for another 15 frames Tuesday was spotty again. But Justin Monreau had an RBI single in the first, Charlie Culberson and Charlie Blackmon added RBI doubles in the second and Michael McKenry doubled in a run in the sixth against Cubs starter Travis Wood, who fanned a career-high 11.

"They got to me early and hit a couple balls and on good pitches, too," Wood said.

MLB.com Comments