The Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Villanueva (2-6, 4.16) had the Colorado Rockies pretty well bottled-up until Todd Helton singled with one out in the 4th inning. Wilin Rosario followed with a double, driving Helton to 3rd, and the veteran scored the tying run on a high bouncer to 1st-base off the bat of Nolan Arenado. After Villanueva walked Colorado pitcher Juan Nicasio (6-4, 4.72), Dexter Fowler, William, tripled down the right-field line to plate Rosario and Nicasio to send the Rockies to a 9-3 victory over the Cubs Saturday night at Coors Field in Denver.
Villanueva, humiliated by his portrayal on Rox Walk-Off, has dropped the handlebar ‘stache in favor of a Broadway Joe-looking fu-manchu, but the sartorial adjustment could not foil Colorado when it returned to bat in the 5th. Carlos Gonzalez led-off with a large fly-ball into the right-field second deck to push the Rockies’ lead to 4-1. Fellow All Stars Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer followed with singles, as did Helton, who was 3 for 4, knocking in Tulowitzki. Wilin Rosario singled to knock-in Cuddyer, and a fly ball by Arenado moved Helton to 3rd, where he scored Colorado’s 7th run on a Fowler sacrifice fly.
Nicasio, making his second start since a demotion to AAA, looked remarkably like Juan Nicasio, lasting 5 innings and throwing 90 pitches, 52 strikes. He allowed only 3 hits, and walked only 2, but threw 26 pitches in the top of the 1st. Save Luis Valbuena’s home-run with one out in the 3rd, he pitched generally with little traffic thereafter. Adam Ottavino relieved him and was not sharp, giving-up a run on 22 pitches in the 6th, and another in the 7th on 9 deliveries, when he did not record an out. Wilton Lopez bailed him out, Josh Outman was perfect in the 8th, and Mitchell Boggs, called-up from Tulsa to replace closer Rafael Betancourt (appendicitis), slogged his way through the 9th, surrendering a double to Darwin Barney, hitting Cody Ransom, and walking Valbuena before Starlin Castro grounded-out to end the game.
The Rockies provided Boggs with cushion in the 8th when Fowler and DJ LeMahieu led-off with singles and dashed home on a double by Tulowitzki. Fowler, LeMahieu and Tulowitzki all had 2 hits for Colorado, as did Rosario, as the Rockies totaled 13 hits for the night.
The Rockies are looking to jump-out in the season’s second half on a big roll, and will seek the series victory over Chicago Sunday afternoon back at 20th and Blake. Tyler Chatwood (5-3, 2.56) will battle with Edwin Jackson (6-10, 5.11) of the Cubs in a match-up of right-handers starting at 2:10 pm MDT.
BETANCOURT HAS APPENDECTOMY
Rockies’ closer Rafael Betancourt, recently reinstated from a stint on the Disabled List with a strained groin, found himself back on the list Friday, when appendicitis set-in and landed him in the hospital for emergency surgery. Right-hander Mitchell Boggs, obtained from the Cardinals on July 10 for an international signing bonus slot, had been working in AA Tulsa since the acquisition. Boggs led the National League with 34 holds in 2012, but lost his way with St Louis earlier in the year, when he was moved into the closer role and failed to deliver.