CHICAGO(AP) – With a new veteran in the fold, the Chicago Cubs deep, dangerous lineup seems a little bit deeper and more dangerous.
Kyle Schwarber and Javier Báez homered, Kyle Hendricks was solid again through seven innings and the Cubs beat Colorado 6-3 on Tuesday night to end the Rockies’ season-high eight-game winning streak.
Carlos González had two RBIs — on a double and sacrifice fly — as he started in right field for a second straight game after signing a minor league contract with Chicago on Saturday.
While Schwarber had Báez struck the big blows, the Cubs tipped their caps to Gonzalez, a three-time All-Star who batted fifth and made an impact for the second time in two games.
“Everyone knows what he has done and what he can do,” Báez said. “(Opponents) have to pitch to someone and everyone in our lineup is really good. Obviously he’s out there for a reason.”
Gonzalez, who played 10 years for the Rockies, said it was “weird” to face his former club for the first time. After going 1 for 3 with a run-saving, diving catch in his Cubs debut against the Angels on Monday, the 33-year-old went 1 for 3 again.
“I’m just trying to take advantage of the opportunities,” said González, who entered with a career .285 average and 233 homers in 1,363 games. “This is a really good team. I think we have a special roster from the top to the bottom and anyone can carry this team.”
Schwarber’s solo shot to the back of the right-center bleachers in the fifth was his 11th homer and put Chicago up 3-2. Báez hit a two-run shot to the batter’s eye the next inning for a three-run lead. It was his 15th this season.
“When you crush a ball, that’s when everything feels good,” Báez said.
Hendricks (6-4) allowed three runs and six hits while striking out 10 — including five in a row over the second and third innings. The right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.09 ERA in seven starts since May 3. He also drove in a run with a bloop single in the second.
Steve Cishek followed with a perfect eighth. Pedro Strop, activated off the injured list before the game, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save in seven chances.
Daniel Murphy hit a solo shot and drove in another run with a single. Nolan Arenado extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single and Tony Wolters had an RBI, but the Rockies came up short in a rematch of last year’s NL Wild Card game — Colorado beat Chicago 2-1 in 13 innings to advance.
Gonzalez played for the Rockies from 2009 through 2018. The Cleveland Indians designated him for assignment May 22.
“(I’m) really happy for him, not really happy he got two RBIs today,” Arenado said. “But his swing looked so good, it sounds like he’s in a good place.”
Colorado’s Jeff Hoffman (1-2) gave up five runs and six hits through six innings in this third start since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on May 24.
Rockies: OF Charlie Blackmon, out since May 24 (right calf strain) was eligible to come off the IL on Tuesday but did not. Manager Bud Black said Blackmon would be evaluated after batting practice Tuesday, and it remained uncertain if Blackmon would go on a rehab assignment. … RHP Wade Davis, on the IL since May 22 (oblique strain), will face live hitters off a mound Wednesday. Black said he didn’t know if Davis would go on a rehab stint.
Cubs: Strop was activated from the 10-day IL (left hamstring strain) before Tuesday night’s game and RHP Dillon Maples was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. The 33-year-old Strop went on the IL on May 8 and entered Tuesday’s game 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA and four saves. He is one of several relievers manager Joe Maddon has shuffled into the closer’s role as Brandon Morrow recovers from right elbow surgery.