Rockies 9, Cubs 5

By Chris Rewers on Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hero: Starlin Castro (3-for-4) contributed a two-run double in the fourth inning. Castro, who had his sixth three-hit game of the season, was 7-for-13 in the series with four RBI and is now hitting .418.

Goat: Cubs starter Ryan Dempster turned in another subpar effort, surrendering four runs during a long 29-pitch first inning. Dempster, whose ERA rose to 6.84, lasted just five innings and allowed five runs - all earned - on seven hits. He struck out four and walked two.

Key Play: Cubs pitchers continued to give up big hits on two-strike counts. The Rockies had runners at second and third with nobody out in the bottom of the eighth of a 5-5 game, but Marcos Mateo (0-1) recovered by striking out Jose Morales and Ty Wigginton. Dexter Fowler, however, smacked a 2-and-2 pitch to center for a tie-breaking two-run double.

Comments: The Cubs (7-8) won just four times on the nine-game road trip. ... A victory Sunday would have moved the Cubs to one game out of first in the NL Central. Division rivals Cincinnati, St. Louis, Milwaukee (which was swept in a doubleheader at Washington), and Houston all lost.

Next: The Cubs open a nine-game homestand Monday (WCIU, 7:05 p.m.) when they host the San Diego Padres at what will likely be a frigid and damp Wrigley Field. Carlos Zambrano (2-0, 6.11 ERA), who has won his last 10 decisions, will oppose right-hander Tim Stauffer (0-1, 4.80).

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