DENVER — Three games into the season, offense has been tough to come by for the Chicago Cubs.
After getting a split in back-to-back shutouts to start the season, the Cubs missed scoring chances aplenty in a 5-1 loss to Colorado on Friday in the Rockies’ home opener.
“We have to do better, no question,” manager Joe Maddon said after the Cubs went 1 for 9 at the plate with runners in scoring position. “I believe we will be. I liked our lineup. I thought some good guys were up at the right time. I liked the way we went about our business. We just couldn’t get a hit today when we needed to.”
The Rockies could. They tied their best start in franchise history at 4-0 behind Troy Tulowitzki’s tiebreaking, two-run double in the fifth off Travis Wood (0-1) and Justin Morneau’s solo homer leading off the sixth.
“We were getting some quick outs, cruising there for a while,” said Wood, who went 4 2-3 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits.
“One pitch to Tulo pretty much erased everything. I threw a cutter up and in and somehow he kept it fair,” Wood added. “That’s why he is who he is and that was pretty much it.”
The outcome, though, came down to more than a chest-high cutter that Tulowitzki sent over the third baseman’s head and into the left-field corner. After getting their first two hitters on to start the fifth, Christian Bergman relieved Matzek and induced Starlin Castro to ground into a double play before getting Mike Olt to ground out.
Bergman (1-0) picked up the win with a perfect inning, and five Colorado relievers combined to allow just one hit — a bunt single by Anthony Rizzo with the shift on — in five innings.
“We’re getting the runners,” Rizzo said. “We’ve got to keep putting pressure on (opposing teams). That’s all you can do.”
This is our third game now and we’ve been putting pressure on every game. We didn’t get the big hit this time but if we keep giving ourselves opportunities like that, good things are going to happen.”
Matzek became the first Rockies starting pitcher ever to bat eighth. With fellow lefty Wood (0-1) also batting eighth, this marked the first game that both starting pitchers batted in that spot since St. Louis’ Joel Pineiro and Pittsburgh’s Ian Snell did it on July 13, 2008, according to STATS.
Jason Hammel (0-0, 0.00) makes his first start against his former team Saturday. He pitched for the Rockies from 2009-11.