CHICAGO (The Sports Xchange) – Colorado Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds has focused on becoming more of a well-rounded hitter instead of an all-or-nothing slugger who hits home runs or strikes out.
But with the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon, Reynolds did not mind belting a home run out of the ballpark and on to Waveland Avenue. Teammate Charlie Blackmon also hit a home run that cleared the bleachers as the Rockies cruised to a 9-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.
“That’s the first time in my life I ever played here with the wind blowing out like it was today,” Reynolds said with a grin. “I keep finding myself in the lineup, so I’m just trying to do my job.”
Reynolds’ home run traveled an estimated 447 feet, and Blackmon’s blast covered an estimated 439 feet. The offensive outburst powered Colorado (41-23) to its seventh consecutive victory, which marks the franchise’s longest winning streak since April 9-15, 2011.
“The two (home runs) today were really well struck,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “If the wind was blowing the other way, I think they both would have went out.”
Reynolds went 4-for-5 to notch his fourth career four-hit performance. He drove in two runs to give him 53 RBIs on the season, which matches his total from 2016.
Colorado has outscored opponents 50-11 during its seven-game winning streak.
As the Rockies enjoyed loud music in the clubhouse after the win, the Cubs quietly searched for answers. Chicago (30-31) did not record an extra-base hit as its losing streak reached four games.
Willson Contreras finished 1-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Cubs.
“It’s a tough moment,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I get it. But these are young hitters, really young hitters that are going through a tough moment. You’ve got to stay with them.”
Despite a strong wind blowing toward the outfield, Rockies right-hander Jeff Hoffman (4-0) limited the Cubs to one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out eight, which matched a career high. He went 19 batters without allowing a hit between the first and seventh innings.
“I was just trusting my stuff,” Hoffman said. “I felt great. I executed a bunch of pitches, and the defense played great behind me. That’s really all I can do is go out there and let them hit it to my Gold Glovers behind me, and let them do the work for me.”
Cubs right-hander Eddie Butler (3-2) allowed three runs in five innings to draw the loss.
Colorado opened the scoring with two runs in the first inning. DJ LeMahieu slammed a double off the base of the wall in right-center field to drive in Blackmon. Two batters later, Reynolds doubled to the gap in left-center field to score LeMahieu.
Reynolds increased the Rockies’ lead to 3-0 with a solo shot to lead off the fourth. His blast down the left-field line marked his team-leading 17th home run.
Blackmon made it 4-0 in the seventh when he turned on a pitch from Cubs left-hander Brian Duensing for his 15th home run. The ball landed on Sheffield Avenue beyond the right-field bleachers.
Chicago cut the deficit to 4-1 on Contreras’ run-scoring single in the seventh.
Nolan Arenado put the game out of reach with a three-run double in the ninth inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Arenado hammered a line drive down the left-field line to clear the bases.
Arenado scored on a wild pitch later in the ninth to make it 8-1. Ian Desmond added a run-scoring single to complete the rout.
“A lot of contributors today — we had 14 hits,” Black said. “All of the starters had a knock. That’s spreading it around. A team win.”
NOTES: Cubs SS Addison Russell went 0-for-2 in his first start since Tuesday. He missed three games amid allegations posted on social media that he physically and verbally abused his wife. Russell denied the claims. The Cubs are cooperating with the commissioner’s office as it investigates. … Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez was held out of the starting lineup. He pinch hit in the ninth inning and was ruled out on the infield fly rule. … The Cubs recalled RHP Felix Pena from Triple-A Iowa and optioned RHP Seth Frankoff to Triple-A Iowa. Pena allowed two runs in 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. … Rockies SS Alexi Amarista went 1-for-5 in his first start since May 28. … Cubs LF Kyle Schwarber batted leadoff for the first time in 17 games. He went 0-for-4. … Carolina Panthers coach and former Chicago Bears LB Ron Rivera threw the ceremonial first pitch.