Rockies Beat Cubs in Opener

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DENVER - (AP) The Colorado Rockies took advantage of the late scratch of Chicago Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano for a 6-2 victory Friday night.

About 15 minutes before the start of the game, Zambrano was scratched because of a recurrence of a lower back injury. The Rockies jumped on emergency fill-in Sean Marshall for three runs in two innings.

Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez (9-9) allowed two runs -- one earned -- and four hits in 6 2/3 innings for his third consecutive victory.

Chris Iannetta hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Jeff Samardzija, helping the Rockies to their sixth win in eight games and 15th straight against a team from the NL Central.

Zambrano, who was 7-4 with a 3.35 ERA entering the game, worked a season-low three innings in his last start against Florida on Aug. 1, before leaving the game with lower back stiffness. He had worked out with no complaints since then and Cubs manager Lou Piniella said before the game that there were no concerns about Zambrano's back.

However, a team spokesman said Zambrano came off the field shortly before the scheduled start when his back stiffened up again, and Marshall (3-7) was tapped to replace him.

Marshall, a one-time starter now working out of the bullpen, giving up four hits in the three-run first, when Todd Helton extended his hitting streak to 12 games with the first of his two RBI singles. Troy Tulowitzki followed with a double and Brad Hawpe had a two-run single to put the Rockies up 3-1.

Ian Stewart singled to lead off the fourth and Iannetta then drove Samardzija's 3-1 offering into the Rockies' bullpen in center field for his 13th homer.

The Cubs added an unearned run in the sixth when second baseman Omar Quintanilla failed to handle shortstop Tulowitzki's throw attempting to force Milton Bradley on Derrek Lee's fielder's choice. Bradley scored on Alfonso Soriano's two-out single.

Jimenez, who struck out six and walked five, was touched for his only earned run in the first on Lee's double-play grounder. The game marked the ninth consecutive start in which he has allowed no more than four runs and no less than two runs, going 3-3


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