Starlin Castro greets Cubs teammate Aramis Ramirez after Ramirez' two-run, first-inning home run against Colorado on Monday at Wrigley Field. | AP photo
Updated: June 27, 2011 4:53PM
Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez each homered twice to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 7-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday.
Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the first, doubled and scored in the fifth and homered again to lead off the seventh. It was his 24th career multi-homer gamer.
Pena homered leading off the fourth and added a two-run shot in the fifth for his 20th career multi-homer game. Pena and Ramirez each drove in three runs.
The longball barrage backed a strong outing by Cubs starter Matt Garza (4-6), who threw 7 1-3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits. He struck out six and did not issue a walk. Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin (8-5) struggled with his command and lost for the first time in four decisions, allowing season highs with six runs, nine hits, three homers and seven extra-base hits. He departed after throwing 107 pitches in five innings.
Carlos Gonzalez homered twice for the Rockies and Todd Helton added a run-scoring single.
Chacin hadn’t allowed more than one run in any of his four June starts, but allowed two runs in the first Monday. Starlin Castro tripled off the ivy in center field with two outs, then Ramirez homered to left-center on a 1-2 pitch.
The triple gave Castro a career-best 11-game hitting streak. Castro, who entered the day second in the NL with 104 hits, is batting .384 over his last 21 games.
After the Cubs squandered scoring chances in the second and third, Pena hammered a 3-1 Chacin pitch into the batter’s eye in dead center field to lead off the fourth.
Later in the fourth, the Cubs loaded the bases on Geovany Soto’s two-out double and back-to-back walks to Garza and Kosuke Fukudome. With Tony Campana at the plate, Chacin threw a pitch to the screen, allowing Soto to score and put the Cubs ahead 4-1.
Chicago broke the game open in the fifth. Ramirez doubled up the right-field line with one out. Pena then homered for the second time, an opposite field shot that also came on a 3-1 count. That gave Pena 16 homers, all since May 3, the most in the NL over that span.
Not to be outdone, Ramirez launched a 1-0 pitch off reliever Clayton Mortensen onto the roof of the batting eye in center leading off the seventh, putting Chicago up 7-2. It was his eighth homer of the season.
The Rockies started fast against Garza when Gonzalez led off the game with a homer to opposite field. It was Gonzalez’s third homer to lead off a game in his career.
Garza then hit Jonathan Herrera in the foot with a pitch, but settled down to retire the next 10 Colorado hitters in a row. Troy Tulowitzki broke the streak with a one-out single in the fourth.
Garza cruised into the eighth, when he allowed Gonzalez’s second homer of the day with one out, trimming the Cubs’ lead to 7-3. Gonzalez has 12 homers on the year and has a pair of two-homer games this season.
Chacin also hadn’t given up more than four hits in any of his starts this month, but the Cubs got five after Fukudome and Campana each singled to start the third. But Chacin got Castro on a fly to left and induced Ramirez to hit into a double play, keeping Colorado within a run.
The Cubs squandered Alfonso Soriano’s leadoff double in the second. Blake DeWitt grounded out to advance Soriano to third, but Soto struck out and Garza bounced out to Chacin, leaving Soriano stranded.
Notes: Monday’s game was a makeup of an April 27 rainout. ... The Rockies, who finished a weekend series in New York against the Yankees on Sunday, return to Denver to face the White Sox in an interleague series beginning Tuesday. The Cubs play a day-night doubleheader to open a four-game series at Wrigley against the Giants on Tuesday. ... Cubs 2B Darwin Barney homered for Triple-A Iowa on Sunday. Barney is on a rehab assignment as part of his recovery from the left knee sprain that landed him on the disabled list on June 14. Manager Mike Quade says he hopes to have Barney back in the lineup in time for Wednesday game against San Francisco. ... Quade also said that OF Marlon Byrd (fractured orbital bone) and reliever Kerry Wood (blister on right index finger) are improving and could be back with the club in a week or so. Byrd has been out since May 21, when he was hit in the face by a pitch by Boston’s Alfredo Aceves. ... Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers took batting practice at Wrigley Field on Monday while the Cubs went through their pregame stretches, before the gates were opened to the fans. Jonas, a righty swinger, took a few swipes, enough to demonstrate that he isn’t headed for the big leagues any time soon. ... The Cubs last had two players homer more than once in a game on June 9 of last season, when Byrd and Soto accomplished the feat.