Crow-Armstrong makes debut, Cubs rally in ninth to beat Rockies
The Cubs officially called up their top prospect, outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, before Monday's game at Colorado, but that wasn't the only move.
Closer Adbert Alzolay went on the injured list with a right forearm strain, while reliever Michael Fulmer was activated from the injured list with the same injury. Alexander Canario was optioned to Triple A Iowa.
The Cubs needed most of the roster to pull out a 5-4 victory over the Rockies on Monday. After rookie Jordan Wicks delivered another solid start, the bullpen squandered a 3-1 lead, with Jose Cuas giving up 3 runs in the seventh.
But the Cubs rallied with 2 in the top of the ninth on a clutch 2-run single by catcher Yan Gomes. The inning began with Colorado outfielder Nolan Jones unable to glove Dansby Swanson's line drive, which was scored a double. After Ian Happ walked, the runners pulled off a double steal to get into scoring position.
The bottom of the ninth brought some tension as Fulmer gave up a walk and hit a batter after Drew Smyly retired the first batter of the inning. But after a timely mound visit by pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, Fulmer recovered to strike out the next two batters to record a save in his first appearance since Aug. 24.
"Yeah, I thought another great mound visit by Tommy," Cubs manager David Ross told reporters after the game. "Just slowing him down, giving him some good information out there to lock in back in.
"Yan, he's hit the ball hard consistently. The at-bats are professional. He's in every AB, is so calm in the moments and has come through for us a lot this year. It's a nice win."
Crow-Armstrong got into Monday's game in the seventh inning as a pinch-runner for Mike Tauchman, then went out to play center field, but didn't get a chance to make any defensive plays. Tauchman pinch-hit for first baseman Patrick Wisdom and singled.
Crow-Armstrong, running on the pitch, went to second on a ground out, but was cut down trying to steal third. He batted in the ninth inning and laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt.
Canario saw just 1 at-bat after being called up on Sept. 1 and never played in the field. Ross has made it clear he plans to stick with the team's regulars the rest of the way, so don't expect to see Tauchman or Cody Bellinger get benched.
Ross did tell reporters in Denver that Crow-Armstrong will get "some starts mixed in." Coors Field is renowned for its large outfield, which could be a fit, since Crow-Armstrong was a defensive star in the minors.
The Cubs also had an injury Sunday, with first baseman Jeimer Candelario leaving the game in the fifth inning with back soreness. He was not in Monday's lineup. Ross shuffled the batting order for the second straight game, with Bellinger hitting third for just the fifth time this season.
The left-handed hitting Crow-Armstrong, 21, has been on a tear lately, going 7-for-10 at the plate in his last two games with Iowa, and hit two grand slams in the past six days. He made his Triple A debut on Aug. 1 and hit .271 with 6 home runs with the I-Cubs.
A first-round draft pick of the New York Mets in 2020, the Cubs acquired Crow-Armstrong a year later in a trade for Javy Baez. Coincidentally, Baez made his major league debut at age 21 in Colorado on Aug. 5, 2014. He went 1-for-6 with a go-ahead home run in the 12th inning.
Christopher Morel broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning when he hit the longest home run of his career at 466 feet. According to Statcast, it was tied for the 15th longest homer in the majors this season.
Gomes' RBI single made it 3-1 in the sixth, but Seiya Suzuki was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second.
Wicks allowed just 1 run and 3 hits over 6 innings, but wasn't able to record his fourth straight win. Cuas struck out the first two batters in the seventh, then gave up 3 hits and a hit batter.