DENVER (AP) — After hitting the ball hard and coming up empty in recent games, Nolan Arenado finally got one to drop.
Tyler Chatwood pitched six strong innings, Arenado snapped an 0-for-18 skid with a go-ahead single and the Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 on Sunday to win the three-game series.
"Lately, I haven't been coming through for my teammates like I wish I could," Arenado said. "But I've just got to keep hitting the ball hard and that's all I can do. Luckily, I hit one up the middle and I was able to help out, which was nice."
Chatwood (6-3), who went the distance last time out but was a tough-luck loser to Zack Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0, allowed seven hits and two runs, one earned.
Starlin Castro had four hits for Chicago, matching a career high, and Anthony Rizzo homered.
Edwin Jackson (6-11) settled down after a rough start to go seven innings, allowing five hits and four runs — three earned. All the damage off him came with two outs.
Jackson, whose three-game winning streak was snapped, struck out five and walked two, both in the sixth. With two outs, he walked Carlos Gonzalez and, after Gonzalez stole second, issued a free pass to Michael Cuddyer.
Arenado followed with a single to shallow center that Junior Lake fielded on the run.
"I just tried to look for something over the plate," Arenado said. "Jackson was throwing well, throwing everything for strikes and his stuff was moving. I was just looking for something up and luckily I got a pitch up. Right when I hit it, I was like, 'Oh, thank God. Right up the middle. Oh, just please score,' and CarGo's fast, so that helped."
Gonzalez scored ahead of Lake's errant throw home, which sailed over the head of catcher Welington Castillo. The ball bounced off the backstop and rolled into the Rockies' dugout, allowing Cuddyer to score from third. Arenado also came home but the umpires sent him back to second, ruling the ball dead when it rolled to the dugout.
"I knew it was going to be high," said Jackson, who was backing up the plate on the play. "It went past Welly's glove and it hit off the wall. It's just one of those unfortunate plays. Junior Lake has a strong arm, it was a hard-hit ball to center field and I knew he was coming up gunning. I wasn't able to stop the ball."
Rex Brothers, in the closer role with Rafael Betancourt (appendix) on the disabled list, allowed a leadoff double in the ninth by Castro, who scored on Alfonso Soriano's groundout. After walking Cody Ransom, Brothers struck out Lake for his fifth save.
Chicago finished 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
"We had guys on all day and we didn't get that big hit," Rizzo said. "From the first inning on, we threatened, but hats off to them for making the pitches."
Like Jackson, Chatwood had a shaky first inning but managed to get out of it unscathed. With one out, Castro and Rizzo hit successive singles. After Soriano grounded into a fielder's choice, Nate Schierholtz drew a walk to load the bases before Chatwood fanned Lake, blowing a 95 mph fastball past him for strike three.
"He's battled through some tough spots over the course of his outings," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It seems like when he gets in some traffic, he either gets a groundball to get out of it or finds a way to minimize the damage."
Chatwood couldn't entirely escape trouble in the sixth, though. Rizzo started the inning by homering into the left-field bleachers for his 14th of the season. One out later, Schierholtz and Lake hit back-to-back singles and both advanced on Chatwood's errant pickoff throw, leading to Schierholtz scoring on Darwin Barney's sacrifice fly as Chicago tied it at 2.
Colorado took a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Gonzalez and a run-scoring double by Cuddyer.
NOTES: Chicago continues its 10-game road trip Monday at Arizona where Matt Garza (6-1), the subject of trade speculation, is scheduled to pitch the series opener against Tyler Skaggs (2-1). ... Colorado resumes its 10-game homestand Monday, opening a four-game set against Miami with Drew Pomeranz (0-3) taking the mound against Tom Koehler (1-5). ... Chicago was unbeaten in four consecutive series (2-0-2) before Sunday's loss. ... Gonzalez's sixth-inning stolen base was his 100th as a member of the Rockies, tying him with Juan Pierre for fifth on the club's all-time list. ... Castro had his 10th career four-hit game and first since Sept. 19, 2012, against Cincinnati.