DENVER (AP) — The Chicago Cubs swung hot bats on a cold, damp night in Denver.
Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber each had a homer and four RBIs, and the Cubs rode a seven-run sixth inning to a 16-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night amid intermittent rain and temperatures that dipped into the upper 30s.
“We just came from Chicago where it was really cruddy (weather) until that last day” of the homestand, Schwarber said. “We’re all used to that weather, but it was definitely a good day getting the win.”
The elements certainly didn’t affect the Cubs’ bats.
Baez had four hits, finishing a triple shy of the cycle. Schwarber had three hits, connecting for his fourth home run of the season in the sixth to help break open the game. Albert Almora Jr. added four hits, including a double and RBI single.
“Thirty-some degrees, but the dugout was like a cocoon,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “It wasn’t really that cold. But I heard it was really cold on the field.”
Kyle Hendricks (1-1) struck out six and allowed three runs on five hits in five innings to pick up his first win of the season.
Nolan Arenado homered for Colorado in his return from a five-game suspension stemming from his involvement in a brawl against San Diego earlier this month.
The Cubs, who had a season high in runs and hits (18), broke a tie with a pair of unearned runs in the fifth, moving in front 5-3. They batted around in the sixth, collecting a season-high six hits in the inning, three of them for extra bases.
The first of those, an RBI triple by Jason Heyward, chased Jon Gray (1-4), who allowed seven runs — five earned — in five-plus innings. Schwarber’s three-run drive off reliever Bryan Shaw highlighted the outburst, reaching the stand of evergreens beyond the centerfield wall.
“Obviously the park and the elevation, if you just put a good swing on the ball you’re going to get rewarded,” Schwarber said of batting in hitter-friendly Coors Field. “You can’t get up there trying to do too much because that’s when bad things are going to happen.”
Schwarber added an RBI single in the Cubs’ three-run eighth.
“I’m just waiting for this nightmare to end,” said Gray, who lost a third straight decision for the first time in his career. “I feel like I’m making strides each time but the results are just not there yet. It’s not going to keep me from going out there next time and giving everything I have.”
Rockies manager Bud Black said he’s confident Gray will get back on track soon.
“There’s nothing really glaring that’s holding him back,” Black said. “He’s healthy. His delivery looks fine.”
Chicago jumped to a 2-0 lead when Almora beat out an infield single to lead off the game and Baez followed by connecting for his sixth home run of the season.
The Rockies answered with a three-run first, getting an RBI single from Charlie Blackmon and a two-run homer by Arenado, who clubbed the first pitch for his second homer of the season in his first game back since serving his suspension for charging the mound April 11 against San Diego.
ON FURTHER REVIEW
Baez hit a one-out double and initially was called out trying to advance on Bryant’s fielder’s choice. But the call was overturned on review after replays showed Baez had beaten third baseman Arenado’s tag. Baez later scored on a groundout and Bryant came home on Arenado’s errant throw to first after fielding a grounder by Wilson Contreras.
Cubs: RHP Eddie Butler was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of a right groin strain. RHP Luke Farrell was recalled from Triple A Iowa to fill Butler’s roster spot. Farrell was expected to serve in long relief.
Rockies: RF Carlos Gonzalez missed the game with right hamstring soreness. He tweaked his hamstring Wednesday making a diving catch at Pittsburgh. The Rockies were off on Thursday.
Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish (0-1, 6.00 ERA) allowed a season-high nine hits and four walks in taking the loss in his last start against Atlanta.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (0-0, 4.74 ERA) is seeking his first win in his fifth start of the season.
By DENNIS GEORGATOS, Associated Press
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