Casey Coleman solid into 6th as Cubs halt Rockies

DENVER -- Casey Coleman handled both the altitude and his bat well in his first start at Coors Field.

Coleman scattered four hits while working into the sixth inning and singled in the go-ahead run in the Chicago Cubs' 8-3 win at Colorado on Saturday night that snapped the Rockies' seven-game winning streak.

Starlin Castro led Chicago's 17-hit outburst by going 4 for 5 with a three-run homer and Alfonso Soriano also went deep for the Cubs, who ended a six-game skid at Coors Field that dated to Aug. 9, 2009.

The Cubs broke a 1-all tie in the fifth after Coleman slapped a one-out single to center off Jason Hammel and went to third on Castro's double down the left-field line. Coleman scored on Darwin Barney's slow roller to first baseman Jason Giambi.

"He threw me a really good curveball in my first at-bat and then he threw one that I don't think was as good as the first one," Coleman said.

Hammel said that one hanging curve bothered him the most.

"I hate giving up hits to pitchers," he said. "But you know, from what we had done scouting-wise, I guess he's a pretty decent hitter. But a hanging curveball? I was trying to punch him out and he sat back on it and hit it real well. So, kudos to him."

Despite walking three and hitting two batters with pitches, Coleman (1-0) kept the Rockies off balance while giving up just one run, which came in the second when Troy Tulowitzki tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly that tied the game at 1.

"I can see how it's tough" pitching at Coors Field, Coleman said following his 10th major league start. "You get the rubbed-up balls, you throw one pitch and they're slick again. You have to make adjustments, but it's good to make it out of here alive."

If banged up.

Coleman took a line drive off his right foot in the sixth and came out of the game, although the Cubs said he was fine. He had the foot wrapped in ice and an Ace bandage afterward.

"They're just doing it for precaution to keep the swelling down if there is anything," Coleman said. "I could have stayed in the game. It was just the right matchup with [Todd] Helton pinch-hitting."

The Rockies, who were missing Carlos Gonzalez (soreness) and Helton (rest) from their starting lineup, hadn't been blown out all year, losing just twice in their first 13 games, both in extra innings.

Hammel (1-1) became the first Rockies starter to lose all season, allowing three runs and seven hits over six innings.

So efficient while jumping out to a baseball-best 11-2 start, the Rockies' watered-down lineup was 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position, including 0 for 9 against Coleman. Colorado left 13 men on base.

"That's not a very good formula for success," manager Jim Tracy lamented. "But we kept playing. We were a hitter away in the bottom of the eighth inning from really making it interesting, even at 8-3."

Soriano made it 3-1 in the sixth with his fifth homer, which came off Hammel.

The Cubs put it away with a five-run seventh, with all the runs coming off righty Felipe Paulino, who allowed hits to five of the six batters he faced and was charged with five earned runs. He saw his ERA jump from 1.59 to 9.00.

Castro's blow was the big one. He sent an 0-1 offering into the left-field stands for his first homer, which made it 6-1.

"Obviously, that guy was a complete nemesis tonight, period," Tracy said.

Before Castro's big blow, Blake DeWitt hit a single past Giambi after Koyie Hill's bunt hit. Had the smooth-fielding Helton, who pinch-hit in the sixth, stayed in the game, he might have started an inning-ending double play on DeWitt's grounder and limited the damage.

Tracy said he never considered keeping Helton in the game, however.

"No. No. Because if I was going to use him, it was going to be in a situation like that to pinch-hit, but not to put him out there and play him knowing I'm coming back and am going to play him tomorrow. Don't want to grind on him like that, no way," Tracy said.

Chris Iannetta homered for Colorado, his two-run shot off John Grabow in the eighth making it 8-3. The Rockies had a chance to make it interesting, putting two on for Giambi, who battled Kerry Wood through a 10-pitch at-bat before striking out.

Soriano's RBI double put the Cubs ahead 1-0 in the second, and the Rockies tied it in the bottom half on Seth Smith's sacrifice fly that scored Tulowitzki, but Colorado wasted leadoff doubles in the fifth and sixth while the game was still up for grabs.

"We'll file this one away and start over tomorrow and try to win a series," Tracy said. "It's one of those things, this is going to happen once in a while. And as long as it only happens once in a while, we'll be in a very good place."

Game notes
RHP Alan Johnson will make his major league debut Sunday when the Rockies wrap up their three-game series with the Cubs. Johnson, 27, has spent six-plus seasons in the minor leagues, going 56-42 with a 4.55 ERA. ... Tracy said Gonzalez was dealing with "stiffness and soreness" related to the flu he played through in New York and it was affecting his offense. Tracy said he wanted to rest Tulowitzki on Sunday, but Tulowitzki talked him out of it.