Cubs rally in ninth to take series vs. Rockies

Cubs rally in ninth to take series vs. Rockies

DENVER -- Pinch-hitter Welington Castillo smacked an RBI single and scored on Dexter Fowler's two-run homer in the ninth inning Sunday to lift the Cubs to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Rockies.

"We knew we were in it -- it just took a bloop and a blast," Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks said.

Trailing 5-3 with one out in the ninth, Rockies reliever LaTroy Hawkins walked Arismendy Alcantara, who moved up on a wild pitch. Hawkins then struck out pinch-hitter Mike Olt, and Castillo drove in Alcantara with a single to center. Fowler launched an 0-2 slider to right for his first home run.

"It wasn't a slider, it was a cement mixer," Hawkins said. "That's what we call them when they don't do what they're supposed to do. That's what happens when you make bad pitches.

"I just couldn't get ahead of the hitter, and then the one I did get ahead of, I gave up a home run to," Hawkins said. "But when you make terrible pitches like that, that's what big leaguers do to you."

The win helped the Cubs clinch the series in their first road trip of the season.

"It was an entire team victory," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. "I love when you win that kind of game on the road, utilizing everybody. It's really good for esprit de corps."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nine-hole production: DJ LeMahieu drove in three runs from the nine-hole to give the Rockies a 4-1 lead in the second. Manager Walt Weiss has hit his pitcher eighth in two of the three games with the Cubs, and LeMahieu had four hits in his first five at-bats hitting ninth. He scored or plated six of the Rockies' 10 runs in those games and kept a rally going to set up a seventh. The Rockies loaded the bases with a one-out rally in the second, then watched Lyles pop out to second before LeMahieu cleared the bases with a triple into the left-center gap.

"He just left the changeup up," LeMahieu said. "Probably a pitch that he'd want back. I was lucky to stay on it long enough to hit it in the gap."

Said Maddon of LeMahieu: "He might have got star of the series award, he was really good." More >

LeMahieu's three-run triple

Start me up: Sunday was Hendricks' 14th career start and the first time he's given up more than four runs. In 10 of his 13 starts last year, he held opponents to two runs or less. This was the right-hander's second career outing at Coors Field. Last Aug. 7, he gave up two runs over eight innings and got the win.

"I had nothing out there, and was just trying to battle and keep them in it," Hendricks said. More >

Hendricks' RBI single

Missed opportunities: The Cubs loaded the bases with none out in the fifth, and Anthony Rizzo hit a pop up that drifted foul behind home plate. But Rockies catcher Michael McKenry dropped the ball for an error, and Rizzo delivered a sacrifice fly. The Rockies did escape further damage when Jorge Soler lined out to LeMahieu, who threw to first for the double play.

LeMahieu turns double play

QUOTABLE
"I'm looking forward to getting into a rhythm, getting into a flow with the season. I feel as a team, we haven't done that with the days off, the rain out, the travel and all that stuff. I'm just looking forward to getting on a five-day schedule and getting our hitters in the box regularly." -- Cubs pitcher Jon Lester

"Obviously, this trend [of defensive shifts] is going to continue and be more prevalent than it was a year ago. Major League hitters are going to have to adjust. Not all of them. The big boppers are going to try and hit the ball in the seats because that's what they do. They can ground out eight times in a row into the shift, but then they hit a three-run homer, and everybody forgets about it. The other guys, the guys that aren't the big-time home run hitters, they're going to have to adapt. I think they will." -- Weiss

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Rizzo has been hit by a pitch four times in five games. In at least the last 50 years, only one Cub has been hit more than that in the entire month of April, and that was Reed Johnson, who was plunked five times in April 2008.

The Cubs were short-handed because of injuries to Tommy La Stella (right oblique strain) and Mike Olt (bruised right wrist) and used pitcher Travis Wood as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. Wood struck out, but he did deliver in Spring Training, hitting two pinch-hit home runs.

The Rockies committed two errors in the fifth inning that led to two Cubs runs. It's the first time they've made two miscues in one inning since Aug. 10 at Arizona. They finished the game with four errors, and are now 3-20 all-time in games when they make four or more errors.

Colorado scored exactly five runs for the fifth consecutive game -- a franchise first. There are 3-2 in those games.

WHAT'S NEXT
Cubs: Lester makes his second start of the season on Monday night when the Cubs open a six-game homestand against division rivals, the Reds. Lester has never faced Cincinnati, and he will have to deal with Reds speedster Billy Hamilton. The game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Plus and WBBM radio, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field.

Rockies: After a winning week facing National League Central teams, the Rockies face a division rival for the first time as they land in San Francisco for the Giants' home opener. The series begins a six-game road trip through the NL West, and Monday's game will be the first of 25 consecutive games against division foes, a key stretch if the Rockies want to build on their strong start and establish themselves as contenders. Their first series with the defending World Series Champion Giants should be a good barometer as Colorado's league-leading lineup faces a strong pitching staff. Monday's game is set for 2:35 p.m. MT, and it will be broadcast locally on ROOT SPORTS and 850 KOA.

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Owen Perkins in a contributor to MLB.com. Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.