The Cubs' long weekend in Colorado started poorly Friday night as they opened a four-game series with the Rockies with bad news and a 6-2 loss. Scheduled starter Carlos Zambrano was a last-minute scratch with lower back stiffness, and lefty Sean Marshall was called on to make a spot start.
Chicago got on the scoreboard in the first inning, making the most of a revamped lineup that saw Milton Bradley elevated to the two-hole while freshly activated Geovany Soto hit fifth and Ryan Theriot slid down to the eight-spot. Kosuke Fukodome led off with a walk and Bradley followed with a single to right. Derrek Lee grounded into a double play, but was able to plate Fukudome for the early lead.
After striking out leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler, Marshall yielded four consecutive hits to Carlos Gonzalez, Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki, and Brad Hawpe as the Rockies put up three quick runs and established a lead they never relinquished.
Marhsall lasted two innings, facing three batters in the second and benefiting from an inning-ending 9-2 double play when Bradley threw out Fowler as he tried to score from third on a fly ball to right. Jeff Samardzija came on for four innings of relief, eating up innings in his longest appearance of the season but yielding a two-run homer into the right field bullpen from Chris Iannetta in the fourth.