"We came out swinging the bats really well," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "We couldn't get them to make any soft contact, that's for sure. There were some balls hit pretty hard on their side. Even the outs we got, we're lucky they were at people."
Colorado began chipping away when Wilin Rosario led off the second with a shot over the center-field fence, his 27th of the season to lead all National League rookies and catchers. He narrowly missed a second homer in his next at-bat, lifting a long fly to the warning track in the deepest part of center field, but a fifth-inning single up the middle extended his multi-hit streak to five games.
"The offense is doing a great job, and for the last two days we've been getting some great pitching," said DJ LeMahieu, who had a triple, double, and single in his three at-bats. "It would be nice to finish up strong here and get ready for next year."
Chicago held the lead and rebuilt its three-run cushion when Starlin Castro took De La Rosa deep in the top of the third, but Colorado closed the gap when LeMahieu and Tyler Colvin -- both acquired from the Cubs in an offseason trade -- each tripled in the bottom of the inning to climb within a run. The ex-Cubs combined to go 5-for-7 with two triples, a double, three runs and three RBIs against their old teammates.
"Getting traded, I know it's a business, but I take it personal. So it feels good to do well against those guys," LeMahieu said.
Joe Mather sparked the Cubs' final assault with a leadoff double in the fourth frame, coming around to score on Darwin Barney's single to right.
The Rockies scored three runs in back-to-back innings, as Chris Nelson and Andrew Brown each singled to open the fourth and LeMahieu plated both with a double to center to give Colorado its first lead at 5-4. Rutledge drove LeMahieu home with his own double to left.
"Trace and [hitting coach] Carney [Lansford] have been working with me ever since I came up and even this past offseason," LeMahieu said of his burgeoning swing. "It's paying off a bit. I know the power's going to come. I'm starting to feel it a little bit."
The Rockies pulled away in the fifth after Rosario and Nelson singled and Matt McBride cleared the bases with a three-run shot to left. Nelson drove in an insurance run in the sixth with his third single of the night.
De La Rosa had a decent -- if short -- 67-pitch outing, throwing three innings in steady rain in his second start of the season after coming back from Tommy John surgery. He allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk, with both earned runs coming on a pair of solo homers.
"You don't expect him to be pinpoint sharp," Tracy said. "You want to see him go out there and throw the ball pain-free, which he is doing. I took him out of the game because I saw some frustration, No. 1, and the other thing was with a guy who's just spent 16 months rehabbing from a Tommy John and with the conditions we were playing in, I didn't think that was conducive to continue to push the envelope with Jorge De La Rosa."
For his part, De La Rosa was beyond blaming the weather. He's glad to be back on the mound, but with two starts under four innings and an ERA of 9.45, he's eager to push himself further.
"I have no excuses," De La Rosa said. "I made bad pitches a couple times, and I paid for it.
"Today, I think I felt a little stronger than the first time I threw. My pitches were good too. If I keep throwing more and more, I think I'll feel stronger. That's what I'm looking for."
Ultimately, Mother Nature intervened before the Cubs could stage a late-inning comeback. After nearly three hours of steady rain with no sign of improvement, the game was delayed during the seventh-inning stretch and called after a 48-minute wait, leaving LeMahieu a homer shy of the cycle after three trips to the plate. He laughed at speculation that the delay was prolonged by his lobbying.
"Come on guys, we got to play this," he joked. "Fight through this."
But the steady rain made conditions questionable, despite the grounds crew's valiant efforts.
"Even from the first inning, I saw Rutledge throw that ball [into the stands], and he told me afterwards, 'Man, I had no grip on that ball,'" LeMahieu said. "So by [the sixth inning], it was pretty much puddles out there."
With both teams entering play at 59-94, nothing but pride was on the line, and Colorado claimed bragging rights as it staved off a loss that would have tied its record of 95 losses in a season, recorded in its inaugural 1993 season and again in '05.