CHICAGO – Travis Wood pitched seven scoreless innings and the Cubs came within two outs of their first shutout since August in a 9-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
Alfonso Soriano homered for the Cubs, which has won three straight for the second time this season. The Cubs’ 14 hits were one short of a season high.
Josh Rutledge hit a home run off Carlos Marmol with one out in the ninth, ruining the Cubs’ bid for their first shutout win since they beat Colorado on Aug. 26. The Cubs have gone 74 games between shutouts, their longest streak since going 75 in a row from May 15 until Aug. 6, 1999, according to STATS.
Wood (4-2) allowed two hits while striking out two for his major league-leading eighth quality start. He’s the first Cubs pitcher since Hippo Vaughn in 1919 to start with eight quality starts. Wood also had two hits and an RBI.
Juan Nicasio (3-1) recovered from a shaky first two innings to last six for Colorado, allowing five runs and eight hits in his first loss of the season. Nicasio, who hasn’t won since beating Arizona on April 26, allowed all five runs over the first two innings but finished with four scoreless.
The Rockies have lost five of six and have scored 12 runs over those games. They were shut out twice over the weekend by St. Louis before scoring eight runs Sunday.
The Cubs, who were coming off two straight wins at Washington, scored early.
With two outs in the first, Soriano gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead with his fourth home run. It was Soriano’s 376th of his career, tying him for 69th all-time with former Red Sox and White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk.
The home run, during which left fielder Carlos Gonzalez didn’t move, continued Nicasio’s first-inning problems. Heading into Monday, Nicasio had a 9.00 ERA and was allowing opponents to hit .333 against him during seven first innings. Soriano’s home run was the fourth Nicasio has allowed in the opening frame.
The Cubs added to their lead with three in the third on two-out RBI doubles from Wood and Starlin Castro. Wood’s double brought in Welington Castillo, who also doubled, while Castro drove in Wood and David DeJesus.
Wood’s RBI was his first of the season and just his third hit.
Nicasio worked around a leadoff Soriano double in the third, but the five earned runs increased his ERA over the first three innings to 6.38.
Anthony Rizzo went 1 for 5 after his 7-year, $41 million contract extension was announced earlier Monday. He and Castro scored on Nate Schierholtz’s two-run triple and in the seventh that gave the Cubs a 7-0 lead.
Castillo had two doubles, while DeJesus, Schierholtz and Castro had two hits.
NOTES: Cubs pitcher Matt Garza threw a bullpen session Monday. Garza, who hasn’t pitched this season in the major leagues because of a strained lat suffered during spring training, is expected to make a rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Iowa. After that rehab start, his fourth, the Cubs will determine whether to activate Garza. ... Rockies manager Walt Weiss said outfielder Dexter Fowler was getting the night off. Fowler is 2 for his last 26 and is hitting .262. ... Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena was not in the lineup for the second straight game after suffering a jammed right pinkie Saturday in Washington. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Valbuena was available to pinch hit. ... Colorado hasn’t won a three-game series at Wrigley Field since Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2006.
... Today’s pitching matchup is the Rockies’ Jeff Francis (1-3, 6.90) against the Cubs’ Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 3.02).