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Cubs 3, Rockies 2: A most unusual Coors Field win

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There had only been one like it previously in Cubs history.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll get right to it so you’re not left wondering what the headline means.

The Cubs defeated the Rockies 3-2 Wednesday evening at Coors Field. It was the 38th time a Cubs team had won in that venue — but just the second that any Cubs team had defeated the Rockies at Coors Field scoring three or fewer runs. The other? July 19, 2013, and that was almost as anonymous a Cubs bunch as the current squad. I actually encourage you to click on that boxscore link because there were more current Cubs on that 2013 Rockies team (one) than there were on the Cubs club that won the game Wednesday night.

Trivia, I know, but what else do we have right now? There are a few things, dear reader, and I shall tell you about them.

This game did have quite a few positives, but it did not start out that way. Alec Mills had a shaky first inning, allowing back-to-back doubles for a Rockies run on just four pitches. Nine more pitches and two outs later, Colorado had another run and this did not look like a good day for our favorite team.

But give Mills credit. He settled down and threw five more innings and allowed six more hits and two walks, but no further runs. It actually turned into a good outing, a quality start, and his longest outing on the road this year. Mills has been much better as a starter than in relief this year. In 10 starts in 2021 he now has a 3.62 ERA and 1.329 WHIP in 49⅔ innings. That’s not Cy Young quality, obviously, but that’d play in just about anyone’s rotation.

Meanwhile, the Cubs were being stymied by Jon Gray, who shut them out for four innings. In the bottom of the fourth, though, the Cubs turned an unexpected and well-executed double play. Ryan McMahon had led off the inning with a double, and then Elias Diaz hit a fly ball to medium-deep left field. McMahon tried to take third.

Johneshwy Fargas said, “No you don’t!” [VIDEO]

That was a heck of a throw. Good for Fargas, who is trying to make his case to stick with the Cubs, probably as a fourth or fifth outfielder in 2022.

In the fifth, the first two Cubs were routine outs. Rafael Ortega and Willson Contreras singled, and then Ian Happ walked to load the bases.

Patrick Wisdom promptly unloaded them [VIDEO].

Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia couldn’t hold on to Wisdom’s drive, which resulted in a three-run double — and it didn’t miss being a grand slam by much.

Wisdom wound up 3-for-4 in the game and over his last nine games is hitting .400/.472/.667 (12-for-30) with two doubles, two home runs, five walks and seven RBI. Yes, he still strikes out a lot (eight Ks in the nine games) but with that sort of production I think the Cubs can live with the strikeouts.

And beginning in the seventh inning of this game, the revamped Cubs bullpen did its job, throwing three shutout innings and allowing no runs on two hits with two strikeouts. Adam Morgan, Codi Heuer and Manuel Rodriguez looked really good in a tough environment for pitchers, and Rodriguez posted his first career save, just two days before his 25th birthday.

Here are all three outs Rodriguez recorded [VIDEO].

You’ll notice he threw the ball from the first out to first base even though he didn’t have to — he caught a line drive. More important is that he touched 99 miles per hour on several pitches. He was a bit wild on a couple of them, but to me it looks like Rodriguez is the sort of pitcher who could thrive on closing situations. He’ll certainly be given more opportunities if they arise.

The Cubs will go for a series win Thursday afternoon at Coors Field. That would be significant. The 2021 Cubs have won only one road series since June 9 — that was the set where they took two of three at Arizona last month. Only three visiting teams have won a series in Coors Field this year, the Dodgers, Athletics and Mets, and all of those are contending teams. This version of the Cubs... isn’t, so that would be an accomplishment.

Jake Arrieta will start for the Cubs in the series finale. Antonio Senzatela is the scheduled starter for the Rockies. Game time is 2:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage is via Marquee Sports Network.