Chatwood outpitches Lester as Rockies down Cubs

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[April 18, 2016]  CHICAGO -- Tyler Chatwood hasn't had many games like this.

In fact, the Colorado Rockies right hander has barely pitched at all since April 29, 2014, and subsequent Tommy John surgery that cost him nearly two seasons.

But Chatwood displayed a full recovery in Sunday's third start of 2016 -- a sterling seven-inning performance that included 4 2/3 perfect innings to start -- as he out-dueled Chicago Cubs left-hander Jon Lester in a 2-0 Rockies victory.

"Chatwood was outstanding," said Colorado manager Walt Weiss. "You think about the fact that he's been away a long time -- a couple of years -- and he's pitching very well for us. To have shut down that lineup, that's quite a feat."

Nolan Arenado supplied both runs -- a fourth-inning solo homer and another in the ninth -- as Colorado (7-5) claimed its fourth win in five starts and took two of three from Chicago.

The Rockies right-hander (2-1) gave up two hits, struck out seven and walked one.

Chatwood didn't allow any base runners until Jorge Soler drew a walk with two out in the fifth. The no-hitter went away with the next batter as Javier Baez lined a single to left.

"It's up there (as a career highlight), but overall it was a good team win and a good series win," said Chatwood, who was 8-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 2013, his last full season. "I think that was the biggest focus coming in."

Chatwood was pulled for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning after throwing 100 pitches, 69 for strikes.

Rockies left hander Jake McGee faced five batters in a scoreless ninth for his third save in four appearances.

Lester (1-1) departed after 7 1/3 innings after giving up just one run on four hits, striking out 10 and walking just two.

"I know I threw the ball well, but a loss is a loss," Lester said. "Sometimes the other guy makes better pitches throughout the game than you do and he was able to bear down there and makes some pitches with no outs and a guy on second. He had everything working."

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The Cubs (9-3) suffered their second loss in three games and dropped their first series of the season.

Arenado gave Colorado the lead on a first-pitch home run to left off Lester. His fifth homer of the season landed in the outfield basket, just above a year-old rectangular video board.

His ninth inning solo homer came off reliever Justin Grimm for his seventh career multi-homer game.

"We haven't been in games like that where the pitching's tight," Arenado said. "Chaty did an unbelievable job. He kept us in the game and it was fun. It made the game more interesting."

NOTES: Rockies starters Jorge De La Rosa, Chad Bettis and Christian Bergman have combined to allow just five earned runs in 17 2/3 innings pitched for a 2.55 ERA. ... Sunday's game was played under sunny skies and temperatures that hit 70 degrees near Chicago's lakefront. It would have been postponed in Denver where a spring storm produced heavy snowfall. ... Rockies RHP Jordan Lyles (0-1, 11.25 ERA) goes against Reds RHP Alfredo Simon (0-1, 12.25 ERA) in Monday's series opener in Cincinnati. ... In a pre-game ceremony, Cubs 3B Kris Bryant accepted the Players Choice Award as 2015 NL Outstanding Rookie as voted by NL players. ... Bryant also marked his one-year anniversary of arriving in Chicago. He went 0-for-4 in his debut and also went hitless in four at-bats on Sunday, including a game-ending strike out. ... RHP John Lackey (2-0, 5.68 ERA) goes against Cardinals RHP Mike Leake (0-1, 6.97 ERA) on Monday as the Cubs open a three-game series in St. Louis on Monday.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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