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Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2008-05-30


Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2008-05-30
The Rockies actually had a lead for a moment Thursday -- but just a moment.

They were on top 4-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but an errant throw by reliever Matt Herges fueled a two-run rally that allowed the Cubs to lay claim to the best record in the majors (33-21). That's the kind of season it has been for the Rockies, who slipped 14 games below .500 for the first time since 2006.

"It's frustrating for everyone involved," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We had plenty of opportunities on the offensive side of the ball. We had an out on the bases again. And we had some plays we could have made in the field. ... There has been that little rock in the shoe. If we make the plays (defensively) ... If we had better at-bats early in the game ..."

But the Rockies didn't. The season-long troubles with runners in scoring position continued, the Rockies going 2-for-17 in clutch situations, dropping their worst-in-baseball scoring position average to .230.

There were three more hitless at-bats for Garrett Atkins, who is hitting 185 points lower with men in scoring position (.194) than he is without a runner on second and/or third (.379). There were two more hitless at-bats for Ryan Spilborghs, who doubled and singled in the two innings he led off but couldn't come through either of the times he came up with a runner in scoring position and two outs.

"We have to get it together," Hurdle said. "We have to keep working to get opportunities, and we have to cash in on them when we do get them."

Rookie Ian Stewart couldn't even fully enjoy his first three-hit game in the big leagues -- coming up a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.

He was left to wonder what might have happened had he not taken off full speed from second on Omar Quintanilla's sinking line drive that hung up. It allowed Stewart to be doubled off second to end the seventh inning. And he rued that over-the-shoulder catch he couldn't make on a popup off the bat of Alfonso Soriano that led off what became the go-ahead two-run seventh.

"That's one of the plays I love to make," said Stewart, a third baseman by trade who was playing his third pro game at second. "I make that all the time at third base. It's a play I should have made."

Stewart, however, didn't, just as Herges didn't make a clean throw on Derrek Lee's nubber. That allowed Soriano to score the game-tying run and set up Geovanny Soto's go-ahead sacrifice fly. And a Taylor Buchholz errant throw on a Reed Johnson sacrifice bunt in the eighth set the stage for the Cubs' final two runs.

And Jeff Francis again didn't give the type of effort that would make him feel that he has regained his 17-win abilities of a year ago. He got Derrek Lee out for the first times ever -- a flyball in the first and strikeout in the fifth. In between, however, Lee lined a home run to left, his seventh hit in nine career at-bats against Francis.

"We know the record reflects the way we have played," Francis said. "We know we haven't played the way we can. That's the disappointment."

CUBS 8, ROCKIES 4: Throwing errors by Matt Herges in the seventh and Taylor Buchholz in the eighth led to rallies by the Cubs, who scored twice for a 5-4 lead against Herges and added three insurance runs off Buchholz. Buchholz hadn't given up a run in eight previous appearances. The loss was the ninth in a row on the road for the Rockies, who opened their current road trip by being swept in a three-game visit to Philadelphia.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 30, 2008

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