Rockies 5, Cubs 3

It certainly wasn’t Esmil Rogers’ pitching that was the key to
the Colorado Rockies’ 5-3 victory over the Cubs on a blustery and
chilly Monday night.

It was Rogers’ bat that helped decide the game.

Rogers led off the fifth with the score tied at 3, and put down
a near-perfect bunt that Cubs third baseman Jeff Baker charged in
on and fielded, but his throw to first was too late to get the
Rockies pitcher.

”He laid down a tremendous bunt,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy
said about Rogers, a converted infielder.

”After the first strike, I was looking toward Baker at third
and he moved back a little bit,” Rogers said. ”I said to make
sure to put it down third and don’t go foul.”

He helped himself after struggling on the mound. On a 43-degree
night, Rogers (3-1) gave up eight hits, four walks and three earned
runs in 5 1-3 innings after entering with a 6.75 ERA.

After Rogers’ bunt single, Dexter Fowler walked and Jonathan
Herrera put down a sacrifice bunt that was thrown into the stands
by Cubs pitcher Matt Garza (0-3) allowing Rogers to score. Carlos
Gonzalez then grounded out to second to score another run.

Huston Street came on in the ninth to pick up his eighth save of
the season. The Colorado bullpen allowed the Cubs three hits over
the final 3 2-3 innings, with Matt Lindstrom and Rafael Betancourt
preceding Street.

”Our bullpen once again stepped up big time,” Tracy said.

The first-place Rockies are now 15-7 with a four-game lead over
Los Angeles, which lost to Florida.

It was a miserable night for Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, and
not just because of the weather. He committed three errors – all in
the second inning – in the loss.

”Anytime you make three errors in a game, it’s definitely a
tough day,” Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. ”I feel for
him over there. The conditions were bad. The field isn’t the
easiest on shortstops.”

Garza’s errant throw to first on a bunt was the Cubs’ fourth
error of the night and opened the door to two more runs.

Only one of the five runs scored against Garza were earned. He
gave up three hits and a walk in six innings.

Kosuke Fukudome set a career high with five hits, all singles
and Darwin Barney hit a two-run homer in the first inning.

It all came undone for the Cubs shortly after.

Tulowitzki hit a grounder to Castro leading off the second,
reaching base when he bobbled the ball.

Todd Helton struck out and Seth Smith singled before Castro
misplayed Jose Lopez’s grounder, allowing Tulowitzki score.

With Smith on second and Lopez on first, Chris Iannetta hit a
grounder that Castro fielded cleanly. His throw, though, sailed
past Barney at second base and into the Cubs’ bullpen along the
right-field line.

Smith and Lopez came all the way home to tie it at 3. When
Castro finally fielded a grounder and threw out Rogers at first, he
got a sarcastic cheer. Fowler struck out to end the inning.

One more mistake let the Rockies take the lead.

In the fifth inning, with men on first and second, Herrera laid
down a bunt. Garza’s throw to Barney at first was off, and Rogers
scored. Fowler reached third and scored later on Carlos Gonzalez’s
groundout.

Castro was the first Cubs player to have three errors in an
inning since Jaime Navarro did it on Aug. 18, 1996 against Houston.
The major league record for errors in an inning by a shortstop is
four. It’s happened three times, though not since Lennie Merullo
did it Sept. 13, 1942. He later played on the last Cubs team to
make the World Series, in 1945.

NOTES: According to STATS, LLC, the last player to make three
errors in an inning was 3B Andy Marte of Cleveland on June 10 last
year. The last SS to do it was Aaron Miles of St. Louis, on July 7,
2007. … Cubs manager Mike Quade gave third baseman Aramis Ramirez
the night off, starting Baker in his place. … Quade said that
injured starting pitchers Randy Wells (forearm strain) and Andrew
Cashner (rotator cuff strain) were both progressing well, though no
timetable has been established for their return to the Cubs’
rotation. Both pitchers, who were placed on the disabled list on
April 7, are slated to be re-examined on Wednesday. … Fowler’s
seventh-inning triple gave him 25 in his career, moving him past
Ellis Burks for fifth on Colorado’s career list.