Cubs smack four homers in series win over Rockies
Matt Marton - USA Today Sports

Cubs smack four homers in series win over Rockies

by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO — You may not be able to win a division in April, but you certainly can lose one or at least play yourself out of division contention. The Chicago Cubs (3-2) are all too familiar with that, as this team has had far too many poor Aprils, which has put them plenty of games back in the past.

On another cold night at Wrigley Field, the Cubs were looking for their first series win of the season against the Colorado Rockies (1-5). There are some games and series that you just have to have, and for the Cubs, this was one of those series, as the Rockies are not a great baseball team.

Coming off one of the worst opening day starts in MLB history, Kyle Freeland took the ball for the Rockies as he opposed Javier Assad. Although Freeland was a little better this time around, he still wasn't great. The Cubs offense pounded him from start to finish, and he connected for 14 balls over 100 MPH. That included four homers from Cody Bellinger, Seiya Suzuki, Garrett Cooper, and Christoper Morel as the Cubs pounded the Rockies 12-2.

Given the state of the Cubs rotation, at least with Justin Steele and Jameson Taillon out, guys like Assad will have to step up and prove they can shoulder the load. You started to see that from him last season when he filled in for Marcus Stroman, and the right-hander picked up where he left off by going six shutout innings. He walked one and struck out five as the Cubs pitching staff at one point had 22 consecutive scoreless frames.

With Assad doing his thing on the mound, life was much easier for the offense, which took care of the rest. That all started two batters into the game, with Nico Hoerner leading things off with one of his two walks before Suzuki mashed a liner into the left-field basket to put the Cubs up 2-0. That homer was also the hardest hit ball that Suzuki has ever had, leaving the bat at 115 MPH as he continues to destroy the baseball.

Assad was in command for the most part, but after hitting Kris Bryant to lead off the second followed by his lone walk, the right hander was facing his first jam of the season. Typically pitching with men on base and no outs isn't a good thing, but Assad was the pitcher in baseball last season in batting average against with runners on and that continued to be the trend here as he worked out of that jam to keep the Rockies off the board.

As if the first inning wasn't a quick enough start for the Cubs, why not have Cooper get things rolling in the second as his one-out triple set the offense up again before he trotted home on the Nick Madrigal single. Both Cooper and Madrigal had massive games at the plate, with Cooper falling a double short of the Cycle. Hoerner and Suzuki added a pair of walks later in the inning to load the bases, but no further damage came from the threat.

That missed opportunity didn't seem to bother the Cubs as Morel went to work in the bottom half of the third and cranked his second homer of the season to extend the Cubs lead to 4-0.

Singles from Dansby Swanson and Ian Happ kept the line moving, with Madrigal coming through again with an RBI double to push the Cubs lead to 6-0.

Chicago would add another run in the bottom half of the fourth on the Happ single as they scored in each of the first four innings to build a 7-0 lead.

By this point in the game, it was all about Assad giving the Cubs some length on the mound, which he did. Take away his second inning, and Assad was never really in trouble, although a leadoff double from Charlie Blackmon in the sixth could've ended differently than it did. With Freeland allowing seven runs in four innings, he has now allowed 17 runs in two starts, which is one of the worst two-game stretches in MLB history.

At some point, you had to think the Cubs were going to stop scoring, and that happened in the fifth, with the Cubs going down in order for the first time in the game. That was the only time that would happen, as the patient approach against Anthony Molina in the sixth paid off in a big way. With Morel and Happ working walks to put a pair of runners on, Cooper delivered for his third hit of the game, and his three-run blast put the Cubs in front 10-0.

Immediately following Assad's departure from the game, you saw a sense of relief from the Rockies hitters as Jose Cuas took the ball for Craig Counsell in the seventh. Colorado then proceeded to put an end to the shutout, as the one-out hit by pitch to Elias Diaz was followed by a two-out two-run homer from Michael Toglia, and the Cubs' scoreless streak came to an end 10-2. Colorado added two more singles later in the inning, but Cuas was able to escape without further damage.

With their shutout no longer intact, the Cubs capped off the scoring in the bottom half of the seventh when Bellinger unloaded his first homer of the season off the video board in right, putting the Cubs back in front by double digits, 12-2.

Cuas and Luke Little finished things off from there, with Little yet to allow a run in his brief MLB career, as the Cubs claimed the series victory 12-2.

The Cubs will go for the sweep on Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the weather, as Luke Little is reported in line to start.

Cooper led the Cubs' offense with three hits, as they had 14 hits in total. Suzuki, Bellinger, Swanson, Madrigal, and Happ all got in on the fun, adding multi-hit games, as the Cubs used four homers to do most of their damage.

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