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Colorado was beaten by the Cubs to end their 1-6 opening road trip, despite trying to make a comeback in the eighth inning

Chicago Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner, left, forces out Colorado Rockies’ Kris Bryant to end the baseball game Wednesday, April 3, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

If the Rockies’ opening road trip is any indication, the club’s first 100-loss season last year might’ve been just a harbinger.

The Rockies' rough start to the season suggests that last year's 100-loss season may have been a sign of things to come.

The Rockies lost 9-8 to the Cubs, bringing their record to 1-6 in 2024. They made a strong five-run eighth inning to tie the game, but then stumbled in the bottom of the inning and were swept in three games.

Manager Bud Black told reporters that the trip was tough and the team didn't pitch or bat well, but the eighth-inning rally was a positive sign.

Once again, the starting pitching was not up to par, as right-hander Cal Quantrill allowed four runs in four innings. The bullpen didn't perform any better, and the Rockies are starting their home opener against the Rays at a disadvantage.

After a smooth first inning, Quantrill struggled in the second, allowing the Cubs to take a 4-0 lead.

The trouble began with Christopher Morel's single, followed by a pair of sacrifice flies and a two-run single by Seiya Suzuki, before Charlie Blackmon ended the inning by getting Suzuki out at second base.

After the Cubs' Luke Little retired the Rockies in order in the first, Ben Brown allowed one earned run in four innings.

In the fifth, Suzuki hit a solo homer off left-hander Jalen Beeks, increasing the Cubs' lead to 5-0.

Jacob Stallings started the sixth with a double, forcing Brown out of the game, and Kris Bryant's single brought Stallings home to get Colorado on the scoreboard. A throwing error by Morel led to another run, making it 5-2.

In the sixth, Chicago scored three runs off Tyler Kinley, who was replaced by Jake Bird after not making it out of the inning. Michael Busch started with a single, then Nico Hoerner and Mike Tauchman both walked to load the bases.

Miguel Amaya's single brought home three runs, two from the hit and another from an error by center fielder Brenton Doyle. Defensive errors have been a recurring issue for the Rockies in the early part of the season, disappointing for a team that was expected to excel in defense.

Despite being 8-2 down, Blackmon contributed with an RBI double in the seventh, and the Rockies made another attempt in the eighth by loading the bases with one out against Yency Almonte, leading to his substitution.

Jake Cave then doubled against Hector Neris, scoring two runs, and Blackmon's single brought in two more, one through an RBI and another from a throwing error by Hoerner. Ezequiel Tovar's deep center double scored Blackmon, prompting some Cubs fans in the stadium to boo.

Manager Black commented that Cave's late double was significant and should boost his confidence, seeing it as a learning experience for the team.

The rally made the game score 8-8 and gave Colorado a surge of momentum that has been uncommon in 2024. However, it didn't last long.

Nick Mears’ inaccurate pitch on a third strike allowed leadoff man Miles Mastrobuoni to get on base in the eighth inning. Mastrobuoni partially stopped his swing on a curveball that hit off the plate and got past Stallings. Black described the play as an unlucky situation.

Ian Happ then hit a single, moving Mastrobuoni to third base. When Suzuki hit the ball to third baseman Ryan McMahon in the next turn, McMahon threw to home, but his throw was slightly high, and Stallings couldn't catch the ball, allowing Mastrobuoni to score.

“That would’ve been a very close play,” Black said. “(McMahon) made a good play moving to his left, had to throw a bit off-balance and Jacob just couldn’t quite handle the throw.”

In the ninth inning, Bryant got an infield single to start the inning, but then Adbert Alzolay stopped the next three batters, making it a long flight back to Denver for the Rockies.

The Rockies have a rest day on Thursday before their first set of home games starts on Friday.

Friday’s pitching matchup

Rays RHP Zack Little (1-0, 0.00 ERA) at Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (0-0, 7.71)

2:10 p.m. Friday, Coors Field

TV: Rockies.TV (streaming); Comcast/Xfinity (channel 1262); DirecTV (683); Spectrum (130, 445, 305, 435 or 445, depending on region).

Radio: 850 AM/94.1 FM

Little performed well in his first game of the season last weekend, throwing six innings without allowing any runs in a 4-1 win over Toronto, with four hits and two walks to six strikeouts. In 26 games (14 starts) for the Rays last year, he was consistent, with a 3.93 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Colorado hasn't faced him much, although Elias Diaz and Michael Toglia have both hit home runs off him. Meanwhile, Gomber will pitch for Colorado for the first time this season after a mediocre performance in his first game in Arizona. The Diamondbacks scored four runs off him in four-plus innings, and the left-handed pitcher was affected by two home runs.

Pitching probables

Saturday: Rays LHP Tyler Alexander (0-0, 9.00) at Rockies RHP Ryan Feltner (0-1, 5.40), 6:10 p.m.

Sunday: Rays RHP Ryan Pepiot (0-1, 9.53) at Rockies RHP Dakota Hudson (0-1, 0.00), 1:10 p.m.

Monday: Diamondbacks RHP Zac Gallen (2-0, 0.82) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (0-2, 27.00), 6:40 p.m.

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