DENVER (AP) — Jeff Hoffman was happy with his effort in his major league debut. He just wasn’t pleased with the result.
Hoffman threw three strong innings in his first start before running into trouble against Chicago, and the Cubs beat the Colorado Rockies 9-2 on Saturday night.
Nick Hundley homered for Colorado, which couldn’t put up enough offense to support Hoffman.
“I felt very comfortable here,” Hoffman said. “I don’t know why that was. I was really expecting to be nervous, to be jittery, all that stuff. For my first big league game, this was exactly what I was expecting.”
Hoffman (0-1), a former first-round pick acquired a year ago as part of the deal that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto, faced the minimum through three innings but the Cubs got to him the second time through the lineup.
Chicago got four in the fourth and three more on Kris Bryant’s homer in the fifth that ended Hoffman’s night.
“Two hard-hit balls, one to (Ben) Zobrist, one to Bryant,” Hoffman said. “It’s just one of those days. Any other day those balls might be right at somebody. You never know. All you can do is make your pitch.”
It was scoreless until the fourth, when Dexter Fowler led off with a single, went to third on an errant pickoff attempt by Hoffman and came home on Bryant’s single.
Anthony Rizzo followed with a single, Zobrist’s double made it 2-0 and Miguel Montero beat the shift with a two-run single to right.
Bryant made it 7-0 in the fifth with his 31st homer, a three-run drive that went an estimated 469 feet to dead center.
Hoffman allowed seven runs — six earned — on seven hits in four-plus innings.
“The three-run homer hurt,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “The big one was that two-run single by Montero. We get an out there, we’re in good shape.”
Montero had three hits and drove in three for the Cubs.
Trevor Cahill (3-3) got the win with 4 2/3 innings in relief of starter Mike Montgomery.
Montgomery was solid in his first start since coming over in a trade with Seattle on July 20. He had started twice with the Mariners but had pitched seven games out of the bullpen for the Cubs.
Montgomery didn’t give up a hit until Hundley’s one-out homer in the fifth made it 7-1. Cahill relieved Montgomery, who left after throwing 60 pitches.
The Cubs added a run in the eighth and another on Zobrist’s 14th homer in the ninth.
Rockies: CF Charlie Blackmon was not in the starting lineup for the second straight game because of a bruised right toe. Manager Walt Weiss said Blackmon originally hurt it colliding with Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez on Tuesday. Weiss said he doesn’t think it’s a long-term issue but as of now running in the outfield is tough for Blackmon.
The Rockies optioned RHP Christian Bergman to Albuquerque in order to recall Hoffman from Triple-A. To make room for Hoffman on the 40-man roster, Colorado placed LHP Jason Gurka on waivers for the purpose of granting him his unconditional release. Gurka pitched nine games for Colorado last year.
The Cubs will send RHP Jason Hammel (13-5, 2.75) against his former team to face Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa (7-7, 5.29) in the series finale Sunday.
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