Rockies try to keep hits coming versus Cubs

CHICAGO — The Colorado Rockies had dropped three straight games before Tuesday night, thanks largely in part to a lack of offensive firepower.

But when the Rockies hit three solo home runs off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks in a victory that snapped the Chicago Cubs‘ five-game winning streak, the Rockies enter Wednesday’s series finale knowing a little power can go a long way.

Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl and Nolan Arenado all homered in Tuesday’s 3-1 victory in which the Rockies finally produced enough offense to make a solid starting pitching effort stand up.

Jon Gray made the most of the early power and limited the Cubs to three hits and struck out six over seven innings. While the Rockies were able to take advantage of a warm breeze, Gray made sure the Cubs didn’t.

“I was a little bit worried that it was going to be the kind of thing where guys were going to get home runs given to them when they hit, basically, lazy flyballs,” Blackmon told reporters Tuesday, according to the Denver Post. “But fortunately, Jon Gray went out there and didn’t even let them hit any lazy flyballs. He was missing barrels and making good pitches and that lazy flyball was tough to come by.”

Tyler Anderson (1-0, 4.10 ERA) will attempt to lead the Rockies to a series victory on Wednesday. Anderson notched his only win of the season against the Cubs on April 21 when he allowed two runs and scattered six hits. Anderson will make his first start Wednesday since leaving his last outing after only 1 1/3 innings because of discomfort in his chest. Anderson is 1-0 in two career starts against the Cubs.

The Cubs will look to bounce back from Tuesday’s loss in which their lone run came on a leadoff homer by first baseman Anthony Rizzo, whom manager Joe Maddon bumped into the leadoff spot with Javier Baez and Albert Almora, Jr. out of the lineup.

Maddon told reporters Tuesday that Rizzo will be back in his normal spot hitting third or fourth in Wednesday’s series finale.

“Everything was right versus (Tuesday starter Jon Gray) with the day game after the night game with (Anderson) coming up,” Maddon told reporters, according to the Chicago Tribune. “You permit the schedule sometimes to set the lineup for you.”

The Cubs, who had scored three or fewer runs in each of their five consecutive victories, hope to get their bats going again after managing three hits.

The Cubs had benefited from strong solid pitching during their five-game winning streak, but Kyle Hendricks allowed back-to-back homers to Blackmon and Dahl to start the game before Arenado extended Colorado’s lead with a solo shot in the fourth inning.

Despite allowing the three homers, Hendricks delivered the Cubs’ longest outing by a starter this season when he worked 7 2/3 innings.

Yu Darvish will finish off the series for the Cubs on Wednesday and hopes to back up his best outing of the season with another solid start. Darvish (0-2, 5.26), who signed a $126 million contract in the offseason, had struggled before allowing an earned run and three hits while striking out eight in a no-decision against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.

Darvish has struggled in his two career outings against the Rockies with an 0-2 record and a 10.00 ERA.