- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 9, 2017

DENVER (AP) - John Lackey’s breaking ball had some ferocious bite to it. That never seems to happen for him at Coors Field.

For once, this park wasn’t unfriendly to him.

Lackey struck out 10 over seven scoreless innings and added an RBI single , helping the Chicago Cubs stop a four-game skid by beating the Colorado Rockies 8-1 on Tuesday for a day-night doubleheader split.

Chicago gave Lackey plenty of cushion with a five-run second inning. Javier Baez added a two-run homer in the eighth and Kris Bryant a solo shot in the ninth.

Lackey (3-3) allowed just four singles, a sharp contrast to his previous start at Coors, when he surrendered 10 runs on June 8, 2015.

“Most of the time, I’ve taken a couple of beatings in this place,” Lackey said. “That’s the first time I’ve done good here.”

Lackey became the second visiting pitcher to throw seven or more shutout innings with 10 or more strikeouts at Coors, according to the Rockies. The other was Pedro Martinez on July 29, 1997, when he went nine innings and struck out 13.

“It was really fun to watch,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “He had a really, really good breaking ball, slider, today, and commanded everything. … He had himself a pretty good evening.”

In the first game, the Rockies cruised past Jake Arrieta in a 10-4 win .

Kyle Freeland (3-2) had one bad stretch in the nightcap. He allowed five runs, three earned, and four hits - all in a second inning that was compounded by two errors. The rookie left-hander finished with four walks and six strikeouts over six innings.

“There’s definitely positives about this outing and the way I bounced back after that second inning to eat up more innings to give our bullpen rest and not really tax them,” Freeland said. “It showed I could get back in the zone and get outs.”

The Cubs figure to sleep well after another exhausting night. They arrived in Denver early Monday after an 18-inning loss to the New York Yankees that lasted 6 hours, 5 minutes. A rainout Monday gave them a brief break, but meant playing two on Tuesday.

“We’re running on fumes a bit,” Maddon said. “I’m proud of our guys. But starting pitching drives the engine - don’t ever be deceived.”

Jeimer Candelario was called up from Triple-A Iowa to serve as the 26th player for the second game. He ignited the second by starting the inning off with a sharp single. In all, the Cubs sent 11 batters to the plate and took advantage of errors by shortstop Trevor Story and second baseman DJ LeMahieu. Freeland didn’t help his cause by walking three, including Candelario with two outs and the bases loaded.

Candelario also made a nifty backhanded play at third in the fourth to prevent a run. He’s definitely caught the attention of Maddon, especially his .340 average with Iowa.

“He’s tearing up Triple-A. That’s what you have to do to be a big leaguer,” Maddon said. “He just needs to keep doing what he’s doing.”


Cubs: OF Jason Heyward (sore knuckle on right hand) is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on May 16. “I’d be surprised if it’s any longer than that,” Maddon said.

Rockies: C Tom Murphy (fractured right forearm) is “getting closer,” manager Bud Black said. “He’s starting to do some things with his arm that he hadn’t been able to do before, range of motion.”


Ryan Hanigan had two-out, bases-clearing bloop single off Arrieta as part of a six-run third inning in the opener. Hard-throwing rookie Antonio Senzatela (5-1) wrestled with his command over six innings but wiggled out of several tough spots.

“There’s some resiliency where he hung in there and got through it when he’s probably not pitching how we’ve seen him overall,” Black said.


Maddon had a chance to visit with former Broncos QB Peyton Manning on Monday. He even invited Manning to spring training sometime. Maddon’s one regret?

“Should’ve asked him about ‘Omaha,’” Maddon said in reference to the word Manning used to call out at the line of scrimmage. “I had my opportunity to ask about Omaha and I screwed up.”


The Cubs fans were out in full force for both games.

“You kind of look around, ‘Wow, it’s a home game for us, I thought,’” Nolan Arenado said. “Cubs fans travel. They’re a great team and World Series champs.”


Usually at third, Bryant started both games in right field. … 1B Mark Reynolds was held without a homer for the first time in five games. He walked three times in the nightcap. … OF Ian Desmond broke the shutout with an RBI single in the eighth.


Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (2-1, 3.51 ERA) is 1-0 with a 1.04 ERA over his last three starts.

Rockies: RHP German Marquez (0-2, 7.31) has an 11.70 ERA in two home starts this season.


More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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