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Friday, July 19, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 3, Rockies 1

By Bruce Levine



DENVER -- A quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 3-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night at Coors Field.

How it happened: Junior Lake had three hits in four at-bats in his major league debut and Alfonso Soriano continued his run production streak. Soriano hit his 17th home run of the season in the fourth inning, tying Johnny Bench at 57th on the all-time list with 389 homers. Dexter Fowler took Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija deep, leading off the bottom of the fourth. Samardzija and catcher Welington Castillo teamed up on a great putout at home plate on a pitch that went to the backstop. Troy Tulowitzki tried to score, but Castillo made a perfect throw from a horizontal position with Samardzija making a great tag to deny a run. Anthony Rizzo had the go-ahead RBI double in the seventh and Darwin Barney added an insurance run in the ninth with a double to score Conor Gillespie.

What it means: Samardzija regained his form, pitching his best game in three weeks. He dominated Colorado with a good fastball and unhittable split-finger pitch. The Cubs continue to play their best baseball of the season, having won 25 of their last 46 games. Soriano has 10 home runs in his last 17 games and clubs in need of a run-producing bat are starting to pay attention to his numbers.

Outside the box: Lake, a 23-year-old Dominican native, made his big league debut playing in center field. He doubled down the first-base line on the first pitch he saw from Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa. … The Matt Garza trade saga continued to be the main topic around the team. Garza threw a bullpen session and did his usual cardio and weight work before addressing reporters on Friday. Many reporters were back tracking on how close a deal was after medical reports had been exchanged between the Cubs and Texas Rangers.

Up next: Cubs righty Carlos Villanueva (2-5, 3.59 ERA) goes up against Rockies righty Juan Nicasio (5-4, 4.89) in Game 2 of this three-game series at 7:40 p.m. CT.