CHICAGO (AP) — The Colorado Rockies struggles away from Coors Field continued.
Just don’t blame rookie starter Yohan Flande, who took the loss in Colorado’s 4-1 defeat to the Chicago Cubs on Monday.
“Flande put us in position to win that game and we just couldn’t put together a big inning,” said Rockies manager Walt Weiss, whose team fell to 16-34 on the road this season.
Flande (0-3) gave up just two runs and struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings, but wasn’t quite up to the level of Chicago’s Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1). Each pitcher entered seeking his first major league win.
In his third career start, Wada allowed one run and five hits. It was a far cry from his last outing, when he lasted four innings and gave up five runs in a loss to San Diego.
“Definitely the command was better than last time,” Wada said through a translator. “It’s the second time I pitched in Chicago, so it was a little more relaxed. The last time, I was more excited and anxious about that game.”
The 33-year-old Wada won 107 games over nine seasons in Japan.
“Right now, I’m just really happy that he’s here with us right now, and he had a nice outing whether he was 20 or 33,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.
Anthony Rizzo drove in two runs to back him.
The Rockies got three of their six hits – all singles – in the sixth, capped by Nolan Arenado’s RBI hit to make it 2-1.
Pedro Strop worked out of a jam in the eighth inning and Hector Rondon worked a perfect ninth for his 13th save in 16 chances.
“It came down to the fact that we couldn’t put a crooked number up there,” Weiss said.
It was the best outing in five career starts for Flande, who credited mixing up his delivery and ability to locate pitches.
“I tried to make a little bit of an adjustment when I went quick to the plate (with a) quick delivery and hold (the ball) a little bit more against those hitters that have a leg kick,” Flande said.
The Cubs got two runs in the fourth. Emilio Bonifacio led off with a single and Arismendy Alcantara doubled, setting up Rizzo’s RBI grounder and Justin Ruggiano’s sacrifice fly.
Chicago added two more runs in the eighth against Nick Masset. John Baker scored on an errant pickoff throw and Rizzo singled for his 58th RBI this season.
Rockies: SS Troy Tulowitzki (left hip) underwent an acupuncture-like procedure in Philadelphia. … 1B Justin Morneau (strained neck) singled twice in four at-bats in a rehab start with the Triple-A Colorado Springs. Manager Walt Weiss said before the game that Morneau could return as soon as Tuesday, the first day he’s eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list. … LHP Boone Logan (intestinal condition) pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout in his first rehab appearance with Colorado Springs.
In the second game of the four-game series, Edwin Jackson (5-11, 5.68) starts for the Cubs on Tuesday night, looking for his first win since June 20. He will face Jorge De La Rosa (11-6, 4.19).
DEFENSIVE HIGHLIGHTS: Colorado right fielder Carlos Gonzalez made a diving catch in shallow right-center field to rob Wada of a hit in the third. The favor was quickly returned in the fourth, when Chris Coghlan took away Gonzalez’s would-be double with a running catch at the wall in left-center. In the eight, shortstop Charlie Culberson started a double play with a diving stop up the middle before flipping the ball back to DJ LeMahieu at second direct from his glove to keep the Rockies in striking distance at 4-1.
UNCOSTLY MISTAKES: Cubs center fielder Junior Lake lost track of a routine fly ball with one out in the fifth, allowing Brandon Barnes a double on the play. With two away, Culberson appeared to beat out a grounder to third to put runners at the corners. Renteria successfully challenged the call, though, which was initially scored an error against Bonifacio.