Rockies get bats going in 9-4 win over Cubs

Jack McCarthy, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Manager Walt Weiss figured his Colorado Rockies were overdue for an offensive breakthrough.
On Tuesday night, Carlos Gonzalez and his teammates delivered.
Gonzalez went 5 for 5, hitting two home runs, and the Rockies jumped on the Chicago Cubs early in a 9-4 victory.
"He's one of those guys who's always a day away from doing something like that," Weiss said. "It's nice to see not only him bust out but (also) our offense bust out tonight.
"We had to grind through a tough time the last week or so, but I always feel like we're capable of busting out with the group we have."
Gonzalez had an RBI single in the first inning, providing an early lead for left-handed starter Jeff Francis (2-3), who used his increasingly effective fastball during a six-inning outing on a summer-like night at Wrigley Field.
"It was probably as perfect as it could be tonight," said Francis, who threw 80 pitches and picked up his first victory since a 3-1 decision over San Diego in Colorado's April 5 home opener. "I don't know what the temperature was, but it was the first time I've felt a sweat in a while. It was a good night for baseball for sure."
Troy Tulowitzki had three hits and Eric Young, Todd Helton and Nolan Arenado each contributed two as the Rockies pounded out 17 hits in only the second victory in their last seven games.
Darwin Barney's home run in the fifth was the lone run off Francis. Barney was 3 for 4 for the night.
Francis scattered three hits, walked one and struck out seven. He was relieved by right-hander Edgmer Escalona, who worked the seventh and eighth.
The Cubs picked up two unearned runs in the eighth after two Colorado errors, but the Rockies escaped the inning when Alfonso Soriano grounded to third and Scott Hairston flied to left.
Gonzalez's ninth-inning solo home run to right off Shawn Camp was his second of the night and gave him a career-high five hits in a game. Helton sacrificed home Tulowitzki for the ninth run.
Colorado right-hander Rafael Betancourt pitched the ninth. He gave up a double to Welington Castillo and an RBI double to Barney.
The Rockies roughed up Carlos Villanueva (1-3) for five runs in the first three innings and added two in the fifth.
"He didn't have any fastball command and he didn't have the slider," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "The slider was just spinning, it didn't have any tilt to it. There wasn't a whole lot he had had tonight."
Young led off the game with a double down the third-base line and scored on Gonzalez's RBI single to center.
The Rockies added three runs in the second. With Helton at second and Arenado at first with none out, Josh Rutledge laced a single to left and Helton rounded third for home. But Soriano sent an on-target throw from left field to Castillo, who tagged Helton at the plate.
Arenado reached third on the throw and scored on Francis' sacrifice fly to center. Young then got his second straight hit, a two-run homer to center that also scored Rutledge for a 4-0 lead.
Gonzalez led off the third with a homer to right on a 1-2 pitch, his eighth homer of the season and second hit of the night.
After reaching on a one-out double in the fifth, Gonzalez scored his second run of the night on Tulowitzki's double down the left-field line.
Tulowitzki came home on Helton's two-out single as Villanueva gave up his seventh run.
Barney broke the shutout in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run.
Villanueva didn't return for the sixth. He gave up seven earned runs and 12 hits, including two home runs.
"I actually felt pretty good warming up," Villanueva said. "I guess you just chalk it up to a bad day at the office. It's easy when you're out there to put your head down in games like today. For me, it was to try to get out of it and try to stay in as long as I could. But it was a tough day all around."
NOTES: The series concludes with a third straight night game on Wednesday. The Rockies send Jon Garland (3-3, 4.83) against Jeff Samardzija (1-5, 3.70). Garland has an all-time May record of 27-19. He has not started against the Cubs since Sept. 30, 2010. ... Colorado opens a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday and Chicago has the day off. ... In 23 starts, the Cubs have a 1.90 ERA (33 earned runs in 156 innings) but just nine victories. Only two National League teams have more quality starts: St. Louis (27) and Philadelphia (26). Cardinals starters have 18 wins in their quality starts and the Phillies have 12. ... Entering Tuesday, Chicago starters had held opponents to a major league-low .217 batting average and ranked third in the National League with 203 strikeouts. ... Helton walked once on Monday, the 1,301st of his career, which is second among active players behind Cleveland's Jason Giambi (1,399).

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