Baserunning blunder helps sink Cubs vs. Rockies

Cubs have lost 15 straight on the road against NL West
Baserunning blunder helps sink Cubs vs. Rockies

A baserunning blunder turned the Chicago Cubs’ best hope for a big inning into just another empty one.

Joe Mather was nailed trying to advance to third base on a fly ball, the tail end of a double play closing the seventh inning, and the Cubs lost 6-0 to the Colorado Rockies on a rainy Wednesday night.

The game was delayed by rain in the seventh inning for 1 hour, 24 minutes.

Chicago’s best chance to score was thwarted by a heads-up play by Chris Nelson at third. With runners at second and third and one out in the seventh, Dave Sappelt hit a deep drive to left. Charlie Blackmon caught it at the wall and threw to Nelson at third, who made a sweeping tag on Mather before Josh Vitters could score on the tag-up.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said with Chicago down by six and needing runs in bunches, Mather shouldn’t have risked tagging up to go to third.

“It was just a bonehead play. It’s just not thinking ahead,” Sveum said. “Joe has got good instincts. Joe has always been a very instinctive player, and sometimes for whatever reason, I think they forget what the score is and the situation.”

Mather said he knows he made a mistake.

“I thought I could make it, but I shouldn’t have gone,” he said. “It was bad baserunning. We’re down 6-0 and I took an RBI away from Sapp, took an at-bat away from us. It was just bad baseball. It’s just a bummer, a bummer for everybody. I have to take the blame. 100 percent of it is mine.”

Drew Pomeranz (2-9) pitched five innings and gave up three hits for his first win since July 6. Blackmon homered and Nelson had two hits and two RBIs in the Rockies’ third straight win.

Sappelt had two hits for Chicago, which is winless in 15 road games against NL West opponents.

Pomeranz (2-9) had been 0-6 with a 6.84 ERA since the All-Star break and had lasted past the fourth inning just once in his last 10 starts.

Alex White and Rob Scahill combined for four innings of two-hit ball to finish the shutout.

He got plenty of support from Colorado’s bats, which reached double-digits in hits for the seventh straight game. Every starter reached base at least once as the Rockies piled up 10 hits.

The Rockies scored twice in the first off Jason Berken (0-2). Jordan Pacheco had an RBI double and scored on a single by Tyler Colvin.

The Cubs also loaded the bases in the second before Berken grounded out to end the inning.

Colorado added to its lead in the third. Blackmon led off with his second homer of the season, Nelson hit a bases-loaded, two-run single and Colvin scored on a double-play grounder by Andrew Brown to make it 6-0.

Berken allowed six runs on nine hits in four innings in his third start for the Cubs.

“The ball was up for the most part tonight, consistently up in the zone, and that’s a recipe for disaster,” Berken said.

NOTES: Cubs 2B Darwin Barney extended his errorless streak to 140 games. He needs one more game to tie for the major league record, set by Placido Polanco of the Detroit Tigers in 2007. … The Rockies are trying to become the first team to hit .300 at home since 2007, when the Angels and Yankees did it. … Colorado C Wilin Rosario was 0 for 4. It’s the first time in six games he failed to get at least two hits.