CHICAGO | The dry erase board in the visitor’s clubhouse read “April Showers bring May Power,” and the Colorado Rockies sure looked like they believe.
A little wind helps, too.
Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl opened the game with consecutive homers off Kyle Hendricks, and the Rockies cooled off the Chicago Cubs with a 3-1 victory on Tuesday.
“Homers are the best,” a grinning Blackmon said. “I’m pro-homer, yes.”
With the wind blowing out on a warm night at Wrigley Field, Nolan Arenado also connected as Colorado stopped a three-game slide. Jon Gray (3-4) pitched seven crisp innings for his second straight win after dropping three in a row.
“He made pitches, all the way through, which is a great sign,” manager Bud Black said.
The Cubs had won a season-high five straight games, scoring three runs or fewer in each one. They got another solid start from Hendricks (2-2), but their recent trouble at the plate finally caught up to them.
“Been going on for about a week here,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We’ve benefited from those games, they got us tonight. Both sides pitched really well.”
The crowd of 40,077 was still finding its seats when Blackmon drove a 3-2 pitch over the wall in center for his 10th of the season. It was his 29th career leadoff homer.
Blackmon’s shot snapped a string of 33 2/3 innings for Chicago’s rotation without allowing an earned run. It was the first earned run allowed by any pitcher on the Cubs since the seventh inning of Friday’s 3-2 victory over Milwaukee.
Dahl then connected on a 1-1 pitch, belting a shot to left-center for his first major league homer since Sept. 25, 2016, against the Dodgers.
“I felt good from the start,” Hendricks said. “Bad pitch to Blackmon, didn’t want to walk him. Then wrong pitch really to Dahl, but not a bad one. Overall, felt really good about it still. Fastball command was good.”
The Rockies became the first team to lead off a game at Wrigley Field with consecutive homers since the Boston Bees in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Aug. 6, 1937, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It was the third time they accomplished the feat in franchise history.
“Those were good momentum-builders for us early in the game,” Black said. “We sort of slowed down after that.”
Arenado got in on the action with a leadoff drive in the fourth, giving Colorado a 3-1 lead.
That was it for the Rockies against Hendricks, who allowed four hits and walked two in 7 2/3 innings.
But the Cubs couldn’t get anything going against Gray.
Maddon put Anthony Rizzo in the leadoff spot to try to help the big first baseman out of his slump, and he went deep on Gray’s first pitch for his fourth career leadoff homer. Rizzo’s drive got up in the wind and drifted over the wall in left for his second of the season.
Gray then retired nine in a row. Kyle Schwarber tripled with one out in the seventh, but Gray struck out Victor Caratini and Jason Heyward fouled out to end the inning.
“It was a good job of just making pitches and executing,” Gray said.
Adam Ottavino worked the eighth and Wade Davis finished the three-hitter for his 11th save in 12 chances. It was Davis’ first appearance at Wrigley since he saved 32 games for the NL Central champion Cubs last year.
COMING AND GOING
Colorado promoted infielder Daniel Castro from Triple-A Albuquerque and sent down prospect Ryan McMahon, adding another option at second base with DJ LeMahieu sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Castro started at second against the Cubs and went 0 for 3 in his first major league game since Sept. 30, 2016, for Atlanta against Detroit.
“The decision was more about what position he plays,” Black said. “We felt we needed more coverage with DJ being out for the next five games.”
Rockies: LHP Zac Rosscup (left middle finger blister) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to help make room for Castro.
Cubs: RHP Eddie Butler (right groin strain) was eligible to return on Monday, but remains on the disabled list. “He’s doing better, but I don’t have a specific date for you yet,” Maddon said.
Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson and Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish pitch in the series finale Wednesday afternoon. It’s the first start for Anderson (1-0, 4.10 ERA) since he left Friday’s 1-0 victory at Miami after just 1 1/3 innings due to a heartbeat issue. Darvish (0-2, 5.26 ERA) remains in search of his first win with Chicago after he tossed six sparkling innings in a no-decision against Milwaukee in his previous outing.