Junior Lake and Alfonso Soriano will try to team up again to help the Chicago Cubs earn another rare road win over the Colorado Rockies.
Lake will seek to build on his stellar big league debut and Soriano will attempt to keep his power surge going when the Cubs continue their three-game series Saturday night.
Lake had three hits in his first major league game, including a double on the first pitch he saw. He also stole a base in a 3-1 victory in Friday's series opener.
"Since I've been here, that's the first kid that's come up and looked like a major leaguer, aggressive, aggressive on the bases," manager Dale Sveum said. "He did a great job and swung the bat really nice."
Soriano, meanwhile, hit his 10th homer since June 27, a solo shot in the fourth inning. The win was only the Cubs' fourth in their last 18 games at Coors Field.
Carlos Villanueva (2-5, 3.59 ERA) aims to lead Chicago (43-51) to another win while building on a solid outing before the break. The right-hander, though, took the loss in a 3-2 defeat to St. Louis on July 12.
Villanueva gave up two runs and four hits over six innings in his second start since rejoining the rotation.
"I don't want to say it's like a light switch, but when it comes to (going between starting and relieving) I can adapt real quick," Villanueva said. "I felt good, my arm's been feeling strong. Maybe my time in the bullpen helped me rest it a little bit. Hopefully I can continue to give the boys a chance to win in the second half."
Villanueva, however, struggled mightily in his only start against Colorado (46-51) on May 14. He was tagged for seven runs and a career-high 12 hits in five innings of a 9-4 defeat, prompting his removal from the rotation.
Likewise, the Rockies' Juan Nicasio (5-4, 4.89) performed poorly in his only start against the Cubs, a 9-1 defeat May 13. The right-hander gave up five runs and eight hits over six innings.
Like Villanueva, Nicasio had a strong showing before the break, earning his first victory since May 19. Following a 15-day stint at Triple-A Colorado Springs, he gave up three hits and one walk over seven innings in a 3-0 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 12.
Nicasio was 0-3 with a 6.90 ERA in his previous six major league outings.
"It was a clutch performance," manager Walt Weiss told the team's website. "To shut down a team like that when they are really rolling is very impressive. His fastball was really good, and possibly the best changeup he's had all year."
Carlos Gonzalez, batting .476 in 10 career home games against the Cubs, was a triple shy of the cycle versus Villanueva in the win in May.
Soriano hit a two-run homer and a double against Nicasio in that same series at Wrigley Field.
The Associated Press News Service
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