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Chicago Cubs: Fireworks open Cubs weekend series in Colorado

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Aug 19, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (28) scores past a late tag by Colorado Rockies catcher Nick Hundley (4) in the third inning at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 19, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (28) scores past a late tag by Colorado Rockies catcher Nick Hundley (4) in the third inning at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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It took extra innings, but the Colorado Rockies (50-63) got their second walk-off win of the year at Coors Field against the Chicago Cubs (77-44) to open the series in Denver Friday night.

Final. 6. 9. 7. 108

The Rockies trailed until the eighth when Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr gave up three runs to tie the game at five. Carlos Gonzales and DJ LeMahieu supplied RBI singles, while Nolan Arenado provided a sac-fly for the tying run.

Felix Pena made his major league debut in the bottom of the ninth and retired the side 1-2-3 to record his first career hold. Rob Zastryzny debuted in the tenth and worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the Rockies order.

Chicago took the lead in the 11th off of a Dexter Fowler single, scoring Willson Contreras from second.

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Aroldis Chapman came in for the bottom half of the inning and blew his first save in a Chicago uniform, giving up a game-ending double to Ryan Raburn, who was awarded home on a throwing error.

Raburn’s hit came on a 0-2 slider down in the zone. Opponents are batting .077/.077.156 against Chapman in that count and .214 with a runner on first.

Rockies starter Tyler Anderson (4-4, 3.42 ERA) found small successes with his changeup against an aggressive Cubs lineup, recording five of his eight strikeouts in 106 pitches. Anderson went seven innings, giving up eight hits and five earned runs. He also picked off Bryant in the fifth inning.

Contreras quickly returned the favor in the bottom half of the inning, nabbing Anderson at first as well.

With the Cubs facing a weekend of lefties in Denver, skipper Joe Maddon loaded Friday’s lineup with players that have considerable offensive success against them.

Maddon spoke with reporters before the game about his lineup and decision to give Jason Heyward the weekend.

“We have a lefty today [facing the Cubs], lefty on Sunday so … just give him the whole weekend off. Let him chill a little bit for the weekend.” Maddon said. Adding, “Just look at the schedule. It’ll tell you what to do.”

Matt Szczur, who’s hitting .280/.520/.853 against lefties this season, started in left, while Jorge Soler (,279/,479/.812) took Heyward’s place in right field. Ben Zobrist started off on the bench before replacing Soler in the eighth, giving Javier Baez (330/527/.924) second baseman’s responsibilities.

Fowler took the third pitch he saw deep to left in the top of the first inning. Addison Russell added a two-run shot of his own in the fifth, bringing the score to 5-1.

Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (11-7, 2.17 ERA) shined on the mound even though he earned a no-decision. Hendricks went six innings, giving up four hits and one run by way of a David Dahl leadoff home run to begin the Rockies offensive night.

Opposing leadoff men are hitting .224/.328/.605 with four home runs and 32 strikeouts in Hendricks’ career. Hendricks has the second-lowest ERA in the league with a 2.17.

Next: CJ Edwards, from 48th rounder to big league reliever

He held the Rockies sluggers—Gonzales and Arenado—to 1-for-5, and Cub-killer LeMahieu hitless. LeMahieu is hitting .405 at Coors Field and .311/.467/.834 against Cubs in his career.

Hendricks helped his own cause by singling in the third inning, eventually scoring a run on an Anthony Rizzo single. He laid down a perfect sac bunt in the fourth to move Baez into scoring position, where Kris Bryant eventually singled him in.

It’s worth noting that Hendricks is the only starter in the Cubs rotation that’s under 30-years-old, and the only player in the MLB currently to either attend or graduate from Dartmouth.

The Cubs are now 1-3 against the Rockies and is 11-10 against the NL West overall.

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