Denver, CO (Sports Network) – Carlos Gonzalez went 4-for-6 with a home run, three runs scored and two RBI, as Colorado scored 12 times with two outs in a franchise record-breaking eighth inning to pull away from Chicago, 17-2, in the opener of a three-game series.
The Rockies batted around twice in an unfathomable eighth frame that saw them set club marks for runs (12) and hits (13) and the MLB record for consecutive hits (11), all while stranding the bases loaded.
“I’ve never seen an inning like that. We had two outs and two strikes on a hitter and they scored 12 runs. I’ve never seen anything like that,” Chicago manager Lou Piniella said. “I feel bad for my pitchers.”
Dexter Fowler had three hits, a home run and two RBI, while Ian Stewart homered and drove in three for the Rockies, winners of two straight on the heels of a miserable eight-game skid.
Jeff Francis (4-3) was efficient in a six-inning start, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out five to pick up the win.
Ryan Dempster (8-8) lasted only four-plus frames for the Cubs, surrendering five runs on seven hits and five walks in the club’s third straight loss.
Sean Marshall entered from the bullpen and failed in trying to keep the Cubs within 5-2 in the eighth. The reliever had runners on the corners with two outs before the flood gates opened.
Gonzalez started the string of 11 consecutive hits with a RBI single to right. Troy Tulowitzki and Brad Hawpe followed with run-scoring doubles to chase Marshall, and Andrew Cashner proved even less effective in allowing six straight hits.
Chris Iannetta tripled to left-center to score Hawpe, then Stewart slugged one over the wall in right-center. Melvin Mora added a pinch-hit, run-scoring double following Clint Barmes’ single, and Fowler got in on the act with his third homer of the season, a no-doubter to right.
Brian Schlitter mercifully relieved Cashner after Ryan Spilborghs’ pinch-hit single and gave up a base hit to Gonzalez and two-run double to the left-field gap to Tulowitzki.
Hawpe and Iannetta walked to load the bases to keep the inning going, but Stewart flied out to center to end the marathon inning.
“Any time you put that many hits together in a row it’s going to be fun,” Tulowitzki said. “It shows we have a heck of a lineup and hopefully it carries over the next few games.”
Colorado got the scoring started with a three-spot in the third. Seth Smith doubled in a pair, and Dempster walked three straight with two outs in the frame, the last a payoff pitch just off the plate to Iannetta to force in a run.
Gonzalez’s 20th home run of the season leading off the fifth made it 4-0, and Dempster was pulled shortly thereafter following a single and two walks. James Russell came in and limited the damage to Stewart’s RBI base hit to right.
The Cubs got to Francis in the sixth, as Jeff Baker singled and raced around on a triple to right from Tyler Colvin, who scored two batters later on a Derrek Lee groundout.
The 17 runs were the most the Rockies have scored since beating Florida, 18-17, on July 4, 2008…Of Colorado’s 21 hits, 12 went for extra bases, also a club record. Every starting position player had an extra-base hit..Francis went unbeaten in five July starts…Matt Belisle, Rafael Betancourt, and Taylor Buchholz each threw a scoreless inning of relief for the Rockies.