DENVER (AP) — Kris Bryant hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning and had three RBIs against his former team, helping the Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs 6-4 on Tuesday night.
Elías Díaz had three hits for Colorado, which denied the Cubs a chance to gain ground on Philadelphia in the NL wild card. The Phillies lead Chicago by 1 1/2 games for the first wild card, and the Cubs trail NL Central-leading Milwaukee by four games.
“To do it against some old friends and make it a little bit harder for them, it feels great,” Bryant said.
Brenton Doyle had two hits, Jake Bird (3-3) got the win in relief of Chris Flexen, and Justin Lawrence caught Nico Hoerner looking with two on to end the game and get his 11th save for the Rockies.
Seiya Suzuki homered and finished with three hits and Hoerner and Dansby Swanson had two hits apiece for Chicago.
Bryant was activated from the injured list Monday after missing 45 games because of a fractured left index finger. He put Colorado ahead with a home run off of Daniel Palencia (5-2) in the sixth. Doyle tacked on an RBI single in the seventh.
Bryant’s home run, his ninth, was his first since July 18, four days before he was injured.
“Taking seven weeks to heal and then feeling this in the second game back is great,” Bryant said. “With no rehab, too, just going in there and playing baseball. Feels better than most home runs.”
The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the second inning only to have Colorado send nine men to the plate in the fourth against starter Javier Assad. Bryant tied it with a check-swing single to right and a groundout and Díaz’s RBI single gave the Rockies a 4-2 lead.
“Might be the best hit of my career,” Bryant said. “I’ve done that a couple of times in my career but it never makes it to the outfield. I barreled it up.”
Seiya tied it with a two-run opposite-field homer, his 17th, off Bird in the sixth inning. He has now hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games.
“Those long stretches where I’m slumping, I don’t really have that anymore,” Suzuki said through an interpreter. “I’m feeling pretty good.”
Cubs: INF Jeimer Candelario was placed on the 10-day IL with a back strain and Alexander Canario was recalled from Triple-A Iowa.
Rockies: RHP Ryan Feltner (skull fracture) was scheduled to make his third rehab start with Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday night. Manager Bud Black said the plan was for Feltner to throw 60-65 pitches.
Chicago rookie Pete Crow-Armstrong went hitless in four at-bats in his first major league start but did make an impact in center field. He made a run-saving catch on Nolan Jones’ drive in the first inning and drove in his first RBI in the second on a fielder’s choice.
He then got thrown out on the basepaths for the second straight night.
“There are less mistakes at this level,” manager David Ross said before the game. “They still make them and you’ve got to take advantage when they do but you can’t outrun the baseball as much as he probably could at the minor league level.”
Crow-Armstrong again robbed Jones with a sliding catch in right-center in the sixth.
“He makes my life easier for me out there because he takes all of those routine plays,” Suzuki said.
Doyle flashed some leather in center field when he made a diving catch of Ian Happ’s sinking liner leading off the eighth inning. He also threw out Cody Bellinger to end the first when Bellinger tried to stretch a single into a double.
CHANGE IN ROTATION
Brian Walsh joined the umpiring crew for the second game of the series, replacing Brian O’Nora, who left Monday’s game in the third inning due to illness. Pat Hoberg served as the crew chief and was behind home plate.
The Cubs were set to send RHP James Taillon (7-9, 5.27) to the mound Wednesday against Colorado LHP Ty Blach (2-1, 4.58).