Peter Lambert baffled Chicago yet again and took a chunk out of the turf with a sliding catch.
Now that’s making an impression.
The rookie went five strong innings to lock up Chicago for a second time in five days as the Colorado Rockies won their 10th straight at home by beating the Cubs 10-3 on Tuesday night.
“He was getting outs,” Cubs shortstop Javier Baez simply explained. “Things went their way.”
Lambert (2-0) allowed one run and three hits in his Coors Field debut. The right-hander made his first major league start last Thursday at Wrigley Field and earned his first win when he pitched seven innings of one-run ball.
He went with a similar game plan for meeting No. 2. With good reason: It worked so well the first time.
“Go out there and get ahead of hitters and keep the ball down,” Lambert explained of his approach. “Keep our team in the ball game as long as I can.”
Daniel Murphy led the Rockies offense with three hits, including a two-run double in the first. Charlie Blackmon added a three-run homer as part of a five-run sixth to break open the game.
Lambert mixed in several offspeed pitches with a four-seam fastball to keep the Cubs off balance. Lambert’s only mistake was a fastball that Jason Heyward lined to left for a solo homer in the second.
That’s about all the damage the Cubs could muster.
“We have not figured him out well,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m not going to denigrate him; I think he’s pretty good.”
Lambert left his mark on the field, too. He sprinted off the mound on a pop foul in the fourth and dove for the ball near the first-base dugout. In the process, Lambert’s left knee dug deep into the turf. He momentarily limped around before taking a few warmup tosses with a very noticeable grass stain near the knee of his white pants.
He insisted he was fine, though.
“Instinctively, you know if something’s wrong or if you’re OK,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I asked him that and he said, ‘Buddy, I’m ok.’ I said, ‘OK.'”
Soon after, the knee began to bother Lambert. His 83rd and final pitch of the night was a fastball that struck out Anthony Rizzo. Then, he turned it over to the bullpen.
“I thought it went well. Pitching here at Coors Field was pretty awesome, in front of the home crowd,” Lambert said. “I thought I made some good pitches when I needed to.”
Chicago lefty Jose Quintana (4-6) allowed four runs, three earned, over 4 2/3 innings. He also took the loss in Lambert’s debut.
The Cubs have now dropped five straight on the road. They’re now 13-18 away from home.
“There are no excuses losing games,” Javier Baez said. “If we win, fine. If not, we’ve got to come the next day and make adjustments.”
Broncos fullback Andy Janovich won a charity home run contest before the game using a bat he borrowed from Trevor Story.
“He’s athletic and strong so he can create some whip for sure,” Story said.
The third annual UCHealth “Healthy Swings Charity Home Run Derby” was in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It raised around $100,000.
Cubs lefty Cole Hamels (5-2, 3.24 ERA) will start the series finale Wednesday. The Rockies will throw right-hander Antonio Senzatela (5-4, 4.95).
AROUND THE MAJORS TUESDAY
_Pete Alonso hit a three-run homer in the first inning off an ineffective James Paxton, J.D. Davis and Carlos Gómez also went deep, and the New York Mets beat the Yankees 10-4 for a split of their day-night doubleheader. Jason Vargas wasn’t sharp early but got stronger as the night wore on, helping the Mets to only the fifth win in their last 23 road games. Luke Voit hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer off Zack Wheeler as the Yankees overcame a three-run deficit to win the opener 12-5.
_ Shohei Ohtani and Justin Bour homered off Kenta Maeda in a five-run first inning, and the Los Angeles Angels hung on to sweep the two-game Freeway Series with a 5-3 victory over the majors-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. After Ohtani homered against a fellow Japanese star for the second time in four days, Bour hit a three-run homer in his first plate appearance following his return from a three-week banishment to the minors.
_ Rookie Yordan Alvarez hit one of Houston’s four home runs to become the first player in franchise history to homer in his first two major league games and lead the Astros to a 10-8 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Yuli Gurriel, Robinson Chirinos and Tyler White also homered for the Astros, who won for the fourth time in five games.
— Hunter Pence hit a stand-up, inside-the-park home run and the Texas Rangers beat the Boston Red Sox 9-5 after both managers were ejected. Ariel Jurado (4-2) struck out six while pitching six innings of three-run ball, and Pence, Asdrubal Cabrera and Ronald Guzman each had two RBIs for the Rangers. Texas has won four of five, including Monday night’s extra-innings victory at Fenway Park.
_ Brian McCann hit one of four Atlanta homers in the second inning and took Pirates starter Chris Archer deep again with a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the sixth, helping the Atlanta Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Tuesday night. The Braves, tied for first in the NL East, have won five straight. The game was called before the bottom of the ninth following a 1-hour, 48-minute rain delay.
_ Jorge Soler had the tying RBI double in the eighth inning and Cheslor Cuthbert followed with the go-ahead run-scoring single to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers. Adalberto Mondesi started the rally with his third hit of the game, a double with one out off Daniel Stumpf, and scored on Soler’s ensuing hit off Victor Alcantara.
_ Rookie Oscar Mercado hit a bases-loaded single with one out in the 10th inning, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 2-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Brad Hand pitched two scoreless innings and struck out the side in the 10th. Cleveland has won five of seven games on its homestand.
_ Rookie Dakota Hudson allowed one run in a career-high seven innings, and the St. Louis Cardinals handed the Miami Marlins their sixth consecutive defeat, 7-1. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina returned after missing 11 games because of a strained right thumb and went 2 for 5 with a single and double.
_ Scott Kingery hit a three-run homer, Jake Arrieta threw six effective innings and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-4. Arrieta allowed three runs and six hits for his second win in eight starts. Hector Neris pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 14 tries.
_ Mike Fiers pitched six effective innings, Matt Olson and Khris Davis hit consecutive homers, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3. Fiers allowed two runs and three hits, and is 4-0 in seven starts beginning with his no-hitter against Cincinnati on May 7. Tommy Pham homered for the Rays, who are 16 games over .500 despite an 18-15 record at home.
_ Rookie John Means tied a season-high with seven strikeouts and the Baltimore Orioles took the series opener from the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2. Means, who is 6-4, allowed one run on four hits with three walks over five innings and lowered his ERA to 2.60.
_ Jorge Polanco scored the tying run on a wild pitch and Marwin Gonzalez hit the go-ahead RBI single in Minnesota’s three-run rally in the eighth inning, giving the Twins a 6-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners. Polanco, who entered the game second in the American League in batting, reached base all four times he batted.
_ Welington Castillo hit a grand slam and top rookie Eloy Jiménez homered at home for the first time, powering the Chicago White Sox to a 7-5 win over the Washington Nationals. Castillo got his second career slam, with the other coming June 14, 2017, in the same ballpark when he played for the Baltimore Orioles
— Evan Longoria hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning and made a stellar defensive play in the ninth, and the San Francisco Giants rallied to beat the San Diego Padres 6-5. Joe Panik singled twice and Pablo Sandoval added a sacrifice fly for the Giants. Steven Duggar hit a home run, his first since mid-April. Fernando Tatis Jr. homered on the first pitch of the game and drove in two for San Diego. Ian Kinsler also went deep.