Rockies go quietly on rainy day at Wrigley Field

Rockies go quietly on rainy day at Wrigley Field

Rockies go quietly on rainy day at Wrigley Field
CHICAGO -- The Rockies understand the pleasure that comes with a ray of success in a rough season. August has been a good time for them. On Sunday, they were unwitting bystanders as Cubs pitcher Chris Volstad shone brightly on a rainy day at Wrigley Field.

Volstad held the Rockies scoreless for his 6 2/3 innings to win for the first time in 13 months, 5-0, in front of the remnants of a crowd of 32,396 that waited out nearly three hours of rain. The game was cut short after eight innings.

"We didn't hit today," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "Let's face it, we got four hits today, three of them with two out and nobody on. You're not going to do a whole lot."

Still, it ended a strong 5-2 road trip. Last in the National League West but having won 13 of their past 20 games, the Rockies will face a Dodgers club that not only is contending but is fortified with new and expensive players in a three-game series starting Monday at Coors Field. The series also starts a six-game homestand.

"This challenge that we have in front of us tomorrow night will be a good one, because you'll actually be on two different sides of the coin," Tracy said. "It'll be a good test for our kids and an opportunity to see what that's all about."

The uncommonly strong work of Volstad (1-9) erased a strong start from Jhoulys Chacin (1-4), who has been strong in both starts since missing a little more than three months with a nerve issue in the right side of his chest.

After sitting around for 2 hours, 23 minutes, waiting for the rain to let up so the game could start, Chacin held the Cubs to one run on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks in five innings.

"Today there was a long wait for the game, and I didn't feel that good," Chacin said. "It was bad weather, it was rainy and it was humid. When I was pitching, all the sweat came to my hand, and it was tough to grab the ball. But I still could make my pitch when I needed it -- five innings, one run.

"It was frustrating because we couldn't get any runs, but their pitcher did a really good job."

Chacin has an unusual grip on his two-seam, sinking fastball. One seam actually runs between the index and middle fingers, so it's more like a no-seam pitch. That's tough to throw when the ball is wet, so he didn't use it much Sunday.

He was able to use a four-seam fastball and a slider, and some of his best sliders came when he struck out Alfonso Soriano to end the fifth with two runners on base.

"Jhoulys wasn't as sharp as the was in New York [six innings, one run, four hits in a win] but he still battled his way through," Tracy said. "He got a big strikeout with two guys on, striking out Soriano in the fifth inning to keep us right in the game."

Volstad last won a Major League game on July 17, 2011, while pitching for the Marlins, 24 starts ago. He entered Sunday's game with a 6.88 ERA that often became inflated during the big inning that always seemed to arrive.

But it's tough to have a big inning without runners in scoring position or with fewer than two guys on base at a time. The Rockies never managed either feat until two were out in the seventh, when Tyler Colvin doubled and Chris Nelson drew one of the three walks Volstad issued. But reliever Manuel Corpas, the closer during the Rockies' 2007 run to the World Series, forced Jonathan Herrera into a groundout.

Volstad struck out three and limited the Rockies to three hits.

"I just want to throw well and keep the team there and have the team win the game," Volstad said. "The streak, I guess that's for [the media] more than it is for me. There's a little sense of relief to get it over with."

Chacin forced Darwin Barney into a soft grounder to short with one out and runners at the corners in the second inning, but the contact was too soft for the Rockies to turn a double play, and Starlin Castro scored. Castro had doubled to lead off the inning.

Reliever Adam Ottavino walked Castro to start the sixth and saw him score on Barney's single. The Cubs padded their lead with a three-run eighth and saddled the Rockies with their seventh shutout this season.

Umpires waited a half-hour after the eighth before calling the game.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.