3/5/2014 6:41 P.M. ET
Baez, Kottaras go deep in loss to Rockies
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
MESA, Ariz. -- Javier Baez and George Kottaras hit back to back home runs for the Cubs, but the Rockies took advantage of a throwing error by Christian Villanueva to post a 7-5 win on Wednesday in front of 10,598 at Cubs Park on Wednesday afternoon.
With the game tied at 3 in the seventh, the Rockies loaded the bases with two outs against Chris Rusin on a single and two walks. The lefty was lifted for Minor Leaguer Ryan Searle, and Rosell Herrera greeted him with a two-run single. Villanueva threw the ball into shallow right trying to get Herrera at second, and two more runs scored on the miscue.
Chicago loaded the bases in the seventh and scored on an infield single by Aaron Cunningham and a wild pitch by Kraig Sitton.
Charlie Blackmon tripled to open the game and scored one out later on Carlos Gonzalez's groundout. It was a tough inning for Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, who took a liner by Michael Cuddyer off his leg.
"I'm pretty used to these comebacker, get drilled kind of things," Samardzija said. "It happened a few times last year. It's part of pitching. Protect the vital organs and hopefully [the ball] stops close to you and you can get the guy out."
Ryan Kalish reached on a throwing error by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to lead off the Chicago first, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch by Tyler Chatwood and scored on a throwing error by catcher Mike McKenry to tie the game.
Chatwood developed into a dependable Major League pitcher last season, going 8-5 wth a 3.15 ERA in 20 Major League starts, 111 1/3 innings pitched. But he had surgery to remove a bothersome bone chip from his right elbow in October. He has worked this spring with no problems. Wednesday was his first Cactus League appearance this year.
"Once you get out there and get back in a game and get the adrenaline going, you just let your competitiveness take over," said Chatwood, who allowed one hit and an unearned run over 2 2/3 frames. "That helped me out a lot that outing."
The Rockies loaded the bases with one out in the third, and Samardzija walked Gonzalez to force in a run. Tulowitzki followed with a sacrifice fly to go ahead, 3-1. Samardzija exited after giving up three runs on four hits over three innings.
The Cubs cringed in the third when Baez, their top prospect, fouled a ball off his left ankle, and fell to the ground. He lay there a few seconds, and after getting checked by an athletic trainer and manager Rick Renteria, stayed in the game.
Baez looked just fine in the sixth when he hit an opposite-field home run, his second this spring. Kottaras followed with his first blast to tie the game at 3.
Up next: Travis Wood makes his first Cactus League start on Thursday at 2:05 p.m. CT when the Cubs travel to Goodyear, Ariz., to face the Indians. Wood's first outing was washed out because of rain, and he ended up throwing two innings of a simulated game under cover. The lefty is coming off his first season of 200 innings. Darwin Barney will make his first spring start at shortstop as the Cubs try to make the most of Starlin Castro being sidelined with a hamstring injury. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.