DENVER — Cubs manager Joe Maddon wasn’t about to divulge any secrets regarding Kyle Schwarber’s recent surge.
“Something has clicked in, and I’m really enjoying it,” Maddon said before Monday night’s game against the Rockies.
Schwarber extended his hitting streak to eight games by hitting his 13th home run — one of three the Cubs hit in the third inning to match a season high set in the second inning May 28 in Houston.
But the Cubs lost that game despite hitting five home runs and learned that three homers in an inning doesn’t guarantee a victory — especially at Coors Field.
The Rockies responded Monday with a pair of two-run homers by Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado in the bottom of the third. Pinch hitter Ian Desmond launched a tie-breaking homer off left-hander Mike Montgomery in the seventh that traveled an estimated 486 feet — the longest in the majors this season.
And the biggest blows occurred in the eighth as the Rockies held on for a 6-5 win.
Daniel Murphy hit a hard grounder off reliever Steve Cishek that struck first base and skipped over Anthony Rizzo for a double.
Murphy, known more for his hitting than his speed, stole third as Raimel Tapia struck out for the second out. Ryan McMahon came through with a single to right-center to score Murphy.
The Cubs had tied the game in the top of the eighth when Javier Baez grounded into a fielder’s choice, but they left him stranded.
Aside from the third, Yu Darvish pitched exceptionally well as he didn’t walk a batter while throwing 83 pitches before he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh.
But he had little support after Rizzo, choking up several inches on the bat, ripped a two-run homer to center to cap the four-run rally in the third. David Bote also had homered in the inning before Schwarber.
Rockies starter German Marquez and reliever Jairo Diaz combined to retire 15 of the next 16 batters after Rizzo’s homer.
Baez represented the only baserunner during that span as he led off the sixth with a single. With the Rockies employing a shift against left-handed hitter Carlos Gonzalez, Baez went to second and noticed third base wasn’t occupied after Gonzalez grounded to shortstop Trevor Story, who fielded the grounder behind second.
But with the infield in, Baez was forced to hold at third as Victor Caratini grounded to Story and Kris Bryant grounded to third baseman Nolan Arenado.
Gonzalez received an ovation in his first at-bat as a visitor at Coors Field, where he played 10 seasons with the Rockies from 2009 to 2018. During his time in Colorado, he made three All-Star appearances and won three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers and the 2010 National League batting title.
Gonzalez ranks among the franchise leaders in several categories, including games played (second with 1,247), doubles (third, 277), home runs (fourth, 227) and RBIs (fourth, 749).
It also was a homecoming for Bote, who was born in Longmont, Colo., and resides in Thornton, about 10 miles north of downtown Denver.
Playing in front of several family members and friends, Bote ignited the four-run third with a homer into the Rockies bullpen in right-center.
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