Fowler's homer off Hawkins gives Cubs 6-5 win over Rockies
DENVER (AP) LaTroy Hawkins took an up-and-coming Dexter Fowler under his wing when the speedy outfielder was just a teenager in the Colorado Rockies system.
Fowler paid him back Sunday by sending Hawkins' errant slider into the right-field bleachers in his return to Coors Field.
Nothing personal. Only business.
Fowler hit a two-run homer off the Colorado closer with two outs in the ninth inning, helping the Chicago Cubs rally for a 6-5 win on a blustery afternoon.
Hawkins (1-1) hung an 0-2 pitch to Fowler, who hit his first homer of the season - against his former team, and against a good friend he thought so highly of he invited him to his wedding.
''It's surreal that it happened,'' said the 29-year-old Fowler, who was traded from Colorado to Houston in 2013 and acquired by the Cubs in January. ''I got it pretty good. It's one of those you hit it and it's like you almost didn't feel it. You just know it. I was excited. I should be.''
It was the second straight blown save for Hawkins.
''I'm just searching right now,'' Hawkins said. ''It will come. It will come. Just a tough game.''
Neil Ramirez (1-0) earned the win by getting two outs in the eighth. Hector Rondon got his second save of the season as the Cubs won for the second time in the three-game series.
With Colorado leading 5-3, Boone Logan struck out Miguel Montero leading off the ninth, and Hawkins relieved. The 42-year-old walked Arismendy Alcantara, struck out pinch-hitter Mike Olt and allowed an RBI single by pinch-hitter Wellington Castillo.
With the shadows between the mound and home plate, Fowler fell behind on a pair of fastballs, then homered. It was his second career go-ahead homer in the top of the ninth - after April 12, 2013, for Colorado in San Diego.
''That's what happens when you make bad pitches,'' Hawkins said.
The usually sure-handed Rockies committed four errors, including two by fill-in shortstop Daniel Descalso. The team entered with just one.
With wind gusting up to 37 mph, everything in the air was an adventure. In one case, four Rockies fielders surrounded a pop fly in shallow right-center only to let it fall to the grass.
DJ LeMahieu had a bulk of Colorado's offense with a three-run triple as part of a four-run second.
Jordan Lyles allowed three runs - one earned - in six innings.
''I've got all the confidence in the world in LaTroy,'' Lyles said. ''Next time he's out there, I want him closing the game with my line on him.''
Kyle Hendricks surrendered five runs in 4 1-3 innings and also had an RBI single.
Descalso stepped in at shortstop for Troy Tulowitzki. It was a rough day for Descalso, who had a throwing error and then bobbled a leadoff grounder by Alcantara in the fifth that paved the way to a two-run inning. Alcantara scored on Hendricks' RBI single up the middle.
Later, catcher Michael McKenry dropped Anthony Rizzo's high pop foul in the swirling wind. The Cubs first baseman then delivered a sacrifice fly for a 4-3 lead.
Even one of Colorado's Gold Glovers wasn't immune from mistakes in the field as LeMahieu botched a routine grounder in the seventh. The Cubs couldn't capitalize, though.
''You try to limit those sloppy days,'' Descalso said. ''Come out and play a clean game tomorrow.''
TULO'S DAY OFF
The day off for Tulowitzki was planned. The Rockies want to be careful with the All-Star, given his injury-riddled past. He played only 91 games last season before undergoing hip surgery.
Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon said INF Tommy La Stella ''has a little problem with his side'' and that's why Jonathan Herrera started at third.
Rockies: Reliever John Axford was placed on the family medical emergency list so he can tend to his young son, who was bitten by a rattlesnake last month in Arizona. Axford said 2-year-old Jameson recently had surgery on his right foot to remove necrotic tissue and will be flown to Denver for more treatment.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (0-1, 6.23) makes his first career appearance against Cincinnati as the Cubs return to Wrigley Field for a six-game home stand.
Rockies: RHP Eddie Butler (0-0, 3.18) faces San Francisco on Monday for the first time. The team begins a six-game road swing.