Cubs put up runs, Lilly shuts down Rockies in 10-2 victory
DENVER (AP)—After scoring five total runs in a three-game series in Houston, all Cubs manager Lou Piniella asked for Thursday night was five or six runs to give his pitcher a chance.
The Chicago offense doubled his request.
“We had a nice, positive meeting before the ballgame, and these young men went out and got it done,” Piniella said.
Jones went 4-for-5 and got his 1,300th hit with a single in the first. Jason Kendall had three hits and drove in two runs and Matt Murton homered for the Cubs, who had lost four in a row and six of their previous seven, averaging 2.7 runs in the losses.
“Tonight was all good,” Jones said. “We got some runs in, we got hits, and it was a good game.”
Chicago had 16 hits to go with the 10 runs, moving the Cubs within a half game of idle NL Central leader Milwaukee.
“We put some runs on the board early, which is something that we obviously didn’t do in the Houston series,” Piniella said. “Our pitching did the rest.”
Lilly (13-5) allowed two runs and five hits, striking out five and walking five in six innings. He is 8-1 in his last nine starts, allowing just 19 earned runs in 59 innings.
“I got great run support, and guys played great defense,” Lilly said of his 127-pitch outing.
Jeff Baker homered for Colorado, which had its three game winning streak snapped. The Rockies had scored 36 runs in their previous three games.
Chicago got an unearned run in the first inning when Ryan Theriot led off the game with a single and moved to third base on an errant pickoff attempt by Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2). Jones followed with an RBI single to center.
The Cubs added three more unearned runs in the second inning, beginning with Kendall’s single over second base and a two-out walk to Lilly. Third baseman Garrett Atkins let Theriot’s ground ball get past him for an error to score Kendall, and Jones followed with a two-run double to the wall in left.
“The walk to Lilly was the killer,” Jimenez said. “I never recovered from that.”
Baker hit his third homer of the year in the Colorado second.
Jimenez, who allowed nine runs and nine hits in two-plus innings, didn’t retire a batter in Chicago’s five-run third inning. He lasted only 4 2-3 innings in his last start, giving up six runs and six hits in a 6-4 loss to Atlanta on Aug. 4.
“We needed better than that from Jimenez,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “He dug us a hole that we couldn’t get out of.”
Murton homered, Mark DeRosa singled and scored on Mike Fontenot’s triple, and Kendall added an RBI single in the third. Felix Pie doubled before Taylor Buchholz replaced Jimenez, and Theriot drove in a run with a deep fly to center. Jones added an RBI single off Buchholz to make it 9-1.
After Kendall tripled in a run in the fourth, the Rockies made it 10-2 on Ryan Spilborghs’ sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
The Cubs are still waiting for the results of tests done on the right wrist of 3B Aramis Ramirez. … Murton made only his 21st start of the season. … DeRosa played in his 700th game. … The crowd roared when Carlos Zambrano pinch-hit for Lilly in the seventh inning. … The Rockies transferred RHP Rodrigo Lopez from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL.