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Gonzalez leads way as Rockies batter Cubs

Published: Sunday, July 21, 2013 12:05 a.m. CDT
Caption
(David Zalubowski)
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva works against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Saturday, July 20, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER – Carlos Gonzalez homered and Todd Helton had three of the Colorado Rockies’ 13 hits in a 9-3 win over the Cubs on Saturday night.

Troy Tulowitzki, Dexter Fowler and Wilin Rosario had two hits each for a Colorado offense that had scored eight runs in its previous five games.

Luis Valbuena homered and had two RBIs for the Cubs.

Juan Nicasio (6-4) allowed one run on three hits in five innings, striking out three and walking two to get his second straight win since being recalled from Triple-A on July 12. He beat Clayton Kershaw last week.

Carlos Villanueva (2-6) allowed seven runs on nine hits in four-plus innings. He is winless in his last eight starts, and his last victory came in relief against Seattle on June 29.

A warm night turned blustery as wind speeds reached 35 mph in the fourth inning. A strong gust coming in from right field helped keep Nate Schierholtz’s drive to the wall from going out in the top of the inning, and food wrappers and plastic bags from the stands littered the field in the bottom of the inning.

The wind wasn’t strong enough to hold Valbuena’s drive in the third. He crushed a 92 mph fastball into the Rockies bullpen to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. It was his ninth homer of the season.

The Rockies’ offense woke up in the bottom of the fourth. Helton started it with a one-out single and scored on a groundout. Nicasio walked to put runners on the corners and Fowler followed with a two-run triple to make it 3-1.

Colorado blew it open in the fifth. Gonzalez led off with his team-leading 26th home run into the second deck above the Rockies’ bullpen, and three straight singles made it 5-1 and chased Villanueva.

Michael Bowden came on and surrendered an RBI single to Rosario. Charlie Blackmon walked and Fowler hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Helton to make it 7-1.

The Cubs got within 7-3 with single runs in the sixth and seventh, but Tulowitzki added to Colorado’s cushion with a two-run double in the eighth.

Notes: The Rockies placed RHP Rafael Betancourt (appendectomy) on the 15-day DL and recalled RHP Mitchell Boggs from Double-A Tulsa. ... Helton’s double was the 578th of his career and ties him with Wade Boggs for 18th on the career list. ... Cubs rookie Junior Lake followed Friday’s 3-for-4 debut with a single and a walk Saturday. ... The Rockies will send RHP Tyler Chatwood (5-3) against Chicago’s Edwin Jackson (6-10) in Sunday’s series finale.

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