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Cubs 2, Rockies 1: Marcus Stroman throws a Wrigley gem

The Cubs righthander has struggled at times at home... but in this one he was outstanding.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Marcus Stroman’s record at Wrigley Field this year has not been good. This, you know.

Why this is so has been, so far, something of a mystery, even while Stroman has been dominant in road starts. One thing that has been true about Stroman, home or road, is that he works slowly.

In Friday’s game, he did not do that. The pace of Stroman’s pitching was among the best I’ve seen from him and this could have been one of the reasons he threw seven strong innings, with a no-hitter until two out in the sixth. It was an excellent outing for Stroman and he helped lead the Cubs to a 2-1 win over the Rockies, their fourth win in a row.

After Stroman had a 1-2-3 first inning, the Cubs took the lead in this game within the first three pitches they saw in the bottom of the inning. Zach McKinstry tripled on the second pitch he saw and German Marquez’ next offering, to Ian Happ, was hit for an RBI single [VIDEO].

Stroman worked quickly through the next four innings, allowing a runner in the second (walk) and third (HBP, erased on a caught stealing).

The Cubs extended their lead to 2-0 on this solo homer by McKinstry leading off the fifth [VIDEO].

That didn’t have much height or distance but it was enough to reach the left field basket and that proved to be the game-winner, because after those 5⅔ no-hit innings, Stroman served up a home run to Ryan McMahon in the sixth. He allowed two more baserunners in that inning and two in the seventh, but got out of both with ground balls.

I thought he might have been sent out to at least start the eighth, having thrown just 85 pitches, but David Ross opted for Brandon Hughes, who allowed a one-out single but ended the inning with a double-play ball.

In the eighth with two out, Jared Young, making his MLB debut at first base, smacked a ball down the right-field line for his first major-league hit, a double [VIDEO].

You can see some people in the stands rooting for Young at the end of that clip, and here are some others who did:

Great stuff, and congratulations to Young on a hit in his first MLB game.

Manuel Rodriguez was summoned to close things out, and after a one-out K of Randal Grichuk on a nasty slider, he recorded the final out of the game on a ground ball [VIDEO].

Perhaps best of all was the quick game: two hours, 10 minutes. There have been only two other nine-inning games at Wrigley Field at 2:10 or shorter in the last 15 years — May 9, 2012, a 1-0 win over the Braves, and May 23, 2017, a 4-1 win over the Giants, both those completed in 2:05. The biggest reason? In my opinion, Stroman’s pace of pitching. This is the sort of game we’re going to see a lot of next year with the pitch clock in place, and I love watching games that are fast-paced like this one.

Beyond all that, it was a gorgeous summer-like afternoon with temperatures in the 80s and a nice breeze blowing out.

And so, as usual with games like this, I declare the complaint department closed.

Saturday, these teams will meet again at Wrigley Field as the Cubs go for five straight wins. Originally, Wade Miley was to start Saturday but before Friday’s game, David Ross announced that Hayden Wesneski would make his first MLB start for the Cubs, and Miley will go Monday in Miami. The Rockies will counter with Jose Ureña. Game time is again 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (and MLB Network outside the Cubs and Rockies market territories).