Offense goes missing as Cubs' surge halted

Offense goes missing as Cubs' surge halted

CHICAGO -- No, the Chicago Cubs won't be going 161-1. The hot-hitting North Siders finally cooled Friday in a 6-1 loss to the Rockies at Wrigley Field, ending a five-game win streak and halting a stretch of four games with at least five runs scored.

Manager Joe Maddon doesn't see the outcome as any cause for concern. Rather, Friday was a back-to-reality moment after what had become an idyllic start to the year and the Cubs' first homestand.

"I really believe in the power of 24 hours," Maddon said. "We'll just throw that one out, come back tomorrow and play a normal game."

In a strange turn from the team's three-game sweep of the Reds, the Cubs' lineup generated only four hits Friday, matching the number of errors they committed.

"It was just a weird game all around," starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks said.

Maddon said the Cubs (8-2) maintained good approaches at the plate, but Rockies starter Chad Bettis never made it easy. Bettis threw six shutout innings and struck out four with a mix of pitches that kept Cubs hitters off balance. To make matters worse, the Rockies tagged Jorge Soler out at home on a safety squeeze attempt to nix the Cubs' best chance of scoring off Bettis.

"He did not give us good pitches to get into the game," Maddon said.

La Stella's RBI fielder's choice

Bettis' commanding performance kept the Cubs from adding numbers to the scoreboard, but the team still drew four walks and got Bettis to 98 pitches in six innings.

The Cubs did finally score in the seventh against reliever Chad Qualls on a fielder's choice from Tommy La Stella, but that would prove all they could muster.

Of course, such road bumps are bound to happen and are rarely cause for concern -- especially on this Cubs team, where the focus level is high but the mood still light.

"We've got to come back tomorrow strong," said Cubs shortstop Addison Russell. "If we bounce back tomorrow strong, I think we'll be in a good position and have a lot more confidence."

That's Maddon's plan, and with the way this lineup is built, it's certainly sensible.

"When a pitcher's really good, they're going to make you look not so good on certain days," Maddon said. "I had no issues with anything except that I'm looking forward for this 24-hour clock to roll, come back tomorrow and get back on track."

Cody Stavenhagen is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.