Cubs open Rockies series with win, powered by double-digit hits

DENVER – Coors Field is known for home runs. But the Cubs didn’t rely on the long ball to beat the Rockies 5-2 on Thursday.

They matched their season high with 10 hits.

The trend started in the first inning, as Nick Madrigal, Jonathan Villar and Frank Schwindel hit back-to-back-to-back singles. Seiya Suzuki extended that string of base hits with a double, and the Cubs took a 3-0 lead. With Yan Gomes’ following single, the Cubs recorded five straight hits in the first inning.

Schwindel was the only Cub with a homer on Thursday. The Rockies put together a two-run rally in the fifth inning. But Schwindel, leading off the next frame, added to the Cubs’ lead right away.

Schwindel’s sixth-inning home run was his first home run and first extra-base hit of the season.

Bryant reunion

Not many of Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant’s former Cubs teammates were in the opposite dugout on Thursday. But Cubs manager David Ross had plenty of stories to share from their time playing together.

“One of the cool things and ’15 he was in spring training and had all the hype of all the home runs he hit,” Ross recalled. “And we’re in the training room one day, and I asked him how many home runs he had last year.”

In 2014, Bryant had recorded 43 home runs in Double-A and Triple-A combined. So, Bryant gave Ross that number.

“Not in the show, you didn’t,” Ross said.

Ross retired from playing baseball after the Cubs’ 2016 championship season. He had 106 career home runs. In 2018, Bryant passed that mark

“He made sure that I got a text,” Ross said. “… He let me know he had passed me and I was never catching him again.”

Steele make second start

Cubs lefty Justin Steele’s first start of the season was hard to follow up. He’d thrown five shutout innings against the Brewers over the weekend. But his pristine ERA didn’t last through Thursday.

Steele still hadn’t given up a run when he exited the game with one out in the fifth inning. But he’d put two runners on.

Cubs rookie Ethan Roberts, who also had yet to give up a run this season, replaced Steele. But he ran into problems almost immediately. A couple line drives and a couple walks later, the Rockies had cut the Cubs’ lead to 3-2. Both runs were charged to Steele.

Injury update

The three Cubs on the 10-day injured list continue to make progress, but the team has not given a timeline for their returns. All three became eligible to return from the IL on Thursday.

Right-hander Alec Mills (low back strain) is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Saturday. Lefty Wade Miley (left elbow inflammation) was set to throw long toss at 120 feet on Thursday. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons (right shoulder inflammation) is still on a throwing program.

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