The Colorado Rockies arrived at Wrigley Field this week with a chance to solidify their standing as a National League contender, and they haven't missed a beat.
Of course, these Chicago Cubs look a long way from their World Series-winning form.
Mark Reynolds and Charlie Blackmon homered, rookie Jeff Hoffman pitched neatly into the seventh inning and the Rockies won their seventh straight game, beating the Cubs 9-1 Saturday. Colorado can complete a four-game sweep of the reigning champs Sunday behind breakout rookie righthander Antonio Senzatela.
"These guys are growing before our eyes, and it's great stuff and good to see," manager Bud Black said. "Charlie's having a big series. Mark had a big day today. A lot of contributors today."
The Rockies have their longest winning streak since 2011, when they started a run of six straight losing seasons. The Cubs lost their fourth in a row, dropping them to 30-31.
Reynolds had his fourth career four-hit game, including his 17th homer, and Nolan Arenado had a three-run double during a five-run ninth inning. The Rockies, who have the best record in the NL, improved to 24-10 on the road.
One of four rookies in the Rockies' rotation, the 24-year-old Hoffman (4-0) allowed one run and struck out eight in 6 ⅓ innings.
"It was awesome," Hoffman said of his first start at Wrigley Field. "Facing a great lineup and to be able to go out there and do what I did and execute — and the team to play the way it did — was special."
New York 6-8, Atlanta 1-1: The visiting Mets welcomed back Yoenis Cespedes and Steven Matz in a doubleheader sweep of the Braves. Cespedes, back in the lineup after a six-week stint on the disabled list, hit a grand slam in the first game. Matz, appearing in a big league game for first time since last Aug. 14, pitched seven impressive innings in the second game.
St. Louis 7, Philadelphia 0: Carlos Martinez pitched the first shutout of his career for the host Cardinals. It also was Martinez's first career complete game. He struck out 11.
Pittsburgh 7, Miami 6: Jordy Mercer hit a tying two-run triple in the eighth and John Jaso followed with a go-ahead double for the host Pirates.
Oakland 5-7, Tampa Bay 6-2: The teams split the majors' first scheduled doubleheader since 2011. The last regularly scheduled doubleheader in the majors was on July 11, 2011, when the Athletics hosted the Angels. This was the second doubleheader at Tropicana Field — the other was Sept. 30, 2004, when two games against the Tigers had to be rescheduled because of Hurricane Frances.
Houston 3, Los Angeles 1: Mike Fiers gave up a season-low two hits and one run, which was unearned, in a season-high 7 ⅓ innings for the host Astros. It was his third straight win.
Chicago 5, Cleveland 3: The visiting White Sox won despite having six runners thrown out on the bases. David Holmberg recorded his first victory since July 30, 2015, when he pitched for Cincinnati.
New York 16, Baltimore 3: Rookie Aaron Judge hit his major league-leading 19th home run for the host Yankees. The Yankees have won four in a row, by a combined score of 41-6.
Boston 11, Detroit 3: Chris Sale won his seventh straight decision and improved to 8-2 overall for the host Red Sox.
Texas 6, Washington 3 (11): Robinson Chirinos hit a three-run homer in the 11th for the visiting Rangers. Texas scored twice in the ninth to make it 3-all. In the bottom of the ninth, Trea Turner bunted with two outs and a man at third, but pinch-runner Wilmer Difo hesitated going home and was quickly tagged out.
Kansas City 12, San Diego 6: Lorenzo Cain hit two home runs, including a grand slam, for the visiting Royals.