DENVER | Peter Lambert baffled Chicago yet again and took a chunk out of the turf with a sliding catch.
Now that’s making an impression.
The rookie went five strong innings to lock up Chicago for a second time in five days as the Colorado Rockies won their 10th straight at home by beating the Cubs 10-3 on Tuesday night.
“He was getting outs,” Cubs shortstop Javier Baez simply explained. “Things went their way.”
Lambert (2-0) allowed one run and three hits in his Coors Field debut. The right-hander made his first major league start last Thursday at Wrigley Field and earned his first win when he pitched seven innings of one-run ball.
He went with a similar game plan for meeting No. 2. With good reason: It worked so well the first time.
“Go out there and get ahead of hitters and keep the ball down,” Lambert explained of his approach. “Keep our team in the ball game as long as I can.”
Daniel Murphy led the Rockies offense with three hits, including a two-run double in the first. Charlie Blackmon added a three-run homer as part of a five-run sixth to break open the game.
Lambert mixed in several offspeed pitches with a four-seam fastball to keep the Cubs off balance. Lambert’s only mistake was a fastball that Jason Heyward lined to left for a solo homer in the second.
That’s about all the damage the Cubs could muster.
“We have not figured him out well,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m not going to denigrate him; I think he’s pretty good.”
Lambert left his mark on the field, too. He sprinted off the mound on a pop foul in the fourth and dove for the ball near the first-base dugout. In the process, Lambert’s left knee dug deep into the turf. He momentarily limped around before taking a few warmup tosses with a very noticeable grass stain near the knee of his white pants.
He insisted he was fine, though.
“Instinctively, you know if something’s wrong or if you’re OK,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I asked him that and he said, ‘Buddy, I’m ok.’ I said, ‘OK.'”
Soon after, the knee began to bother Lambert. His 83rd and final pitch of the night was a fastball that struck out Anthony Rizzo. Then, he turned it over to the bullpen.
“I thought it went well. Pitching here at Coors Field was pretty awesome, in front of the home crowd,” Lambert said. “I thought I made some good pitches when I needed to.”
Chicago lefty Jose Quintana (4-6) allowed four runs, three earned, over 4 2/3 innings. He also took the loss in Lambert’s debut.
The Cubs have now dropped five straight on the road. They’re now 13-18 away from home.
“There are no excuses losing games,” Javier Baez said. “If we win, fine. If not, we’ve got to come the next day and make adjustments.”
Cubs: Reliever Craig Kimbrel threw a second bullpen session Monday in Arizona and will toss batting practice later in the week. The right-hander is steadily working his way back into form after recently finalizing a three-year contract with Chicago.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson underwent surgery on his left knee Tuesday in Chicago.
THIS & THAT
Cubs 3B Kris Bryant was hit twice by Lambert. … Murphy was thrown out twice on the bases. … Colorado’s 10th straight home win is the team’s longest at Coors Field in one season since 11 in a row in 1996. … LHP Phillip Diehl made his major league debut in the ninth and allowed two runs. … OF Ian Desmond tied a season high with three hits.
Broncos fullback Andy Janovich won a charity home run contest before the game using a bat he borrowed from Trevor Story.
“He’s athletic and strong so he can create some whip for sure,” Story said.
The third annual UCHealth “Healthy Swings Charity Home Run Derby” was in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It raised around $100,000.
Cubs lefty Cole Hamels (5-2, 3.24 ERA) will start the series finale Wednesday. The Rockies will throw right-hander Antonio Senzatela (5-4, 4.95).