Carlos Gonzalez homered, and Todd Helton had three of the Colorado Rockies’ 13 hits in a 9-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.
Troy Tulowitzki, Dexter Fowler and Wilin Rosario had two hits each for a Colorado offense that had scored eight runs in its previous five games.
Luis Valbuena homered and had two runs batted in for the Cubs.
Juan Nicasio (6-4) allowed one run on three hits in five innings to get his second consecutive win since being recalled from Triple-A on July 12. He beat Clayton Kershaw last week.
Carlos Villanueva (2-6) allowed seven runs on nine hits in four-plus innings. He is winless in his last eight starts and his last victory came in relief against Seattle on June 29.
A warm night turned blustery as wind speeds reached 35 mph in the fourth inning.
The wind wasn’t strong enough to hold Valbuena’s drive in the third. He crushed a 92-mph fastball into the Rockies’ bullpen to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. It was his ninth homer of the season.
The Rockies’ offense woke up in the bottom of the fourth. Helton started it with a one-out single and scored on a groundout. Nicasio walked to put runners on the corners, and Fowler followed with a two-run triple to make it 3-1.
Colorado blew it open in the fifth. Gonzalez led off with his team-leading 26th home run into the second deck above the Rockies’ bullpen, and three consecutive singles made it 5-1 and chased Villanueva.
Michael Bowden came on and surrendered an RBI single to Rosario. Charlie Blackmon walked, and Fowler hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Helton to make it 7-1.
The Cubs got within 7-3 with single runs in the sixth and seventh, but Tulowitzki added to Colorado’s cushion with a two-run double in the eighth.
The rubber game of the series will start at 2:10 p.m. Sunday.