DENVER (AP) — Jake Arrieta’s breaking pitches lost their bite in Colorado’s thin air.
The Rockies took advantage, especially in a six-run sixth inning, and Colorado twice came from behind to beat Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs 13-4 on Wednesday night.
“I knew after my (pregame) bullpen session, I was going to have to make a pretty substantial adjustment to command the ball and have a little more action on my breaking stuff,” Arrieta said. “I got out there and was able to do it for a little while. And then they took advantage of some kind of breaking, spinning stuff over the middle of the plate, just stuff that didn’t have enough bite to it. But give credit to them for being ready in those situations and putting good swings on them.”
Arrieta, who had not allowed more than four runs in a game this season, gave up nine runs on 13 hits. He became the first Cubs pitcher since Lynn McGlothen on May 5, 1980, to allow at least nine runs and 13 hits in a game.
“He ended up getting some pitches up in the zone,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “I thought he was kind of working through it and then that last inning, they started hitting him a little bit harder.”
Jordan Lyles (6-1) came off the 60-day disabled list to earn his first win since May 10. He allowed four runs on six hits in six innings in the first start by a Rockies right-hander in 21 games.
Arrieta, making his first career appearance at hitter friendly Coors Field, left after allowing seven consecutive hits to start the sixth. The last in the string was an RBI single by pinch-hitter Brandon Barnes’ that made it 9-4. Kyuji Fujikawa came on and allowed the final run before retiring the side.
“This was my first time to throw here but (Rockies pitcher) Brett Anderson was throwing some real quality breaking stuff the other night,” Arrieta said. “I threw it at times with some quality to it, some nice break but didn’t do it consistently enough.”
Carlos Gonzalez homered, doubled and singled in his return to the lineup as the Rockies snapped a five-game losing streak. But the Cubs, who took Tuesday’s opener against the Rockies 6-5 in 12 innings, can still win a series at Colorado for the first time in a decade with a win in Thursday night’s finale.
Cubs leftfielder Chris Coghlan led off the game with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly. He singled and doubled in his next two at-bats but walked in his last plate appearance to finish a home run shy of the cycle.
Arismendy Alcantara made it 3-0 in the fourth with a two-run homer, his third of the season.
Coghlan has reached base in 29 of his last 31 games, getting a base hit in 26 of those games. He is hitting .396 (42-106) in that span with four homers and 17 RBIs. “He really prepares well, a former rookie of the year who is trying to put himself back on the map,” Renteria said of Coghlan.
Cubs: Fujikawa came off the 60-day DL list before the game after missing nearly 14 months due to Tommy John surgery. He threw 10 pitches, hitting Charlie Blackmon with a pitch before getting out of the inning with a double play and a flyout.
Rockies: Anderson went on the 15-day disabled list because of a lower back strain. Anderson was injured on the first pitch of the fourth inning Tuesday night and left the game. He had trouble walking the rest of the night but was moving gingerly Wednesday. “He’s doing a little bit better today,” manager Walt Weiss said. “With a back you never know. We’ll probably have to run some tests, but he’s walking today.”
Cubs: Right-hander Kyle Hendricks (2-1, 2.05) is on a roll heading into Thursday’s outing. He is the first Cubs rookie to record three consecutive quality starts since Casey Coleman had four straight in 2010. He allowed just one run in seven innings against the Dodgers on Friday.
Rockies: Yohan Flande (0-3, 5.72) has seen plenty of the Cubs in a short time. He went 6 2-3 innings against them June 28 and took the loss despite allowing just two runs and striking out a career-high eight. Three days later, he pitched 1 2-3 innings of relief in the series final at Wrigley Field.