Rockies-Cubs Preview

The Associated PressMay 15, 2013

After breaking out for the second time in three games, the Colorado Rockies offense hopes to be on the verge of finding some consistent success.

The visiting Rockies look to build on their latest outburst and win consecutive games for the first time in almost a month Wednesday night against the Chicago Cubs.

Colorado (21-18) totaled three runs during a four-game losing streak before waking up Sunday with 11 hits - the same number it had during the entire skid - in an 8-2 victory at St. Louis. The Rockies had a letdown the next night, getting held to three hits in a 9-1 loss at Chicago (16-23), and now hope to avoid another one after pounding out 17 hits in Tuesday's 9-4 victory at Wrigley Field.

"We have a lineup that can explode at any time," manager Walt Weiss said. "We've got a lot of offensive talent and we've had to grind through this tough time the last week or so."

The Rockies have not won back-to-back contests since a season-high eight-game winning streak April 12-20, posting an 8-14 record. They have not won a three-game series at Chicago since Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2006.

"It was a bad stretch, not being able to score runs or be able to help the team," said Carlos Gonzalez, who went 5 for 5 with two homers and three RBIs on Tuesday.

Gonzalez was 2 for 21 with no homers, one RBI and 10 strikeouts in the previous six games. Five of the eight hits in his last 28 at-bats at Wrigley have been home runs.

Former Chicago prospect and scheduled Colorado starter Jon Garland (3-3, 4.83 ERA) has thrown 18 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings against the Cubs, a streak that goes back to 2006. The right-hander hasn't faced them since a pair of starts with San Diego in 2010, going 1-0 while giving up eight hits over 13 1-3 innings.

Garland has allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings in each of his last two starts, which he has split. The latest came in a 3-1 loss at St. Louis on Friday as the Rockies were held to one hit by the Cardinals' Shelby Miller.

Chicago counters with Jeff Samardzija (1-5, 3.70), who is 0-5 with a 4.43 ERA in seven starts since pitching eight scoreless innings during a 3-1 opening-day victory at Pittsburgh. His worst performance came Friday, allowing season highs of eight hits and seven runs - five earned - in five innings of a 7-3 loss at Washington.

The right-hander, who committed an error that opened the door to a two-run second inning for the Nationals, said he has not been bothered by a cut on his index finger from a start late last month.

"Felt about as best as I could all year," Samardzija said. "That's the frustrating part of it, when you've got your pitches and you feel good and you get that outcome."

In his only previous start versus Colorado on Aug. 24 at Wrigley, Samardzija gave up three runs in seven innings while not factoring in the decision of a 5-3 victory.

One day after signing a seven-year contract extension, Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo went 0 for 4 on Tuesday. He's 1 for 13 in the last three games after going 8 for 13 in the previous three.