The visiting Rockies jumped on Carlos Villanueva from the start and did not really let up through five innings. Eric Young doubled to lead off the game and was driven home by Carlos Gonzalez. Get use to hearing those two names again in this post. Pitcher Jeff Francis even picked up a RBI with a sac fly in the second before Young picked on the Cubs righty again, this time with a two run jack. Gonzalez added a solo shot of his on in the top of the third and the fans at Wrigley began to wonder when Dale Sveum would yank his pitcher. Villanueva managed a scoreless frame in the fourth before being tagged for two more runs in the fifth. The mustached chucker was leaving pitches up in the zone and was not the control freak he had been in his previous productive starts. To his credit, the Cubs starter did grind out five innings of work but paid for it with seven earned runs and 12 hits allowed. Interestingly enough, Villanueva did not allow any walks, meaning his mistakes were left over the plate and were pounded on.
Darwin Barney reached down and away to yank a homer into the left field bleachers. It was his second of the season and finally got the Cubs on the board. The North Siders were unable to jump on the lefty Francis, who came into the game with a 6.90 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP. To be fair, Francis did turn back the clock a bit to 2007, when he had won 17 games. The Rockie lefty had his curveball working all night and kept Cub hitters off balance. The home team took advantage of some fielding miscues by the visitors and turned them into a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth, pulling the Cubs within a grand slam at 7-3.
But the struggling Shawn Camp gave the pair of runs right back in the top of the ninth to effectively put the game out of reach. This included a Gonzalez homer, his second of the game and finished 5 for 5 with three RBI and three runs. I guess I shouldn’t of questioned his fire after his strikeout late in game one. For those looking for the silver lining, Barney is the one that provided it. He hit a double to drive in one last run in the ninth to make it 9-4. After struggling since his return from the DL, Barney is trying to claw out of the slump and a trio of hits on Tuesday night surely will help him get on his way back.
The Cubs will send Jeff Samardzija to the mound on Wednesday night to try to take their second straight series in a row.