DENVER -- In Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon's estimation, his team just can't get over the hump on the road, where they dropped another one-run affair on Monday. This time, they fell to the Colorado Rockies after starter Yu Darvish blew an early 4-0 lead, which has been a theme for him of late.
"It sucks, especially after we score four runs with three home runs (in an inning)," Darvish said after the 6-5 loss. "The last five or six starts, every time we score, I give up a run."
The Cubs became the fifth team to hit three home runs in an inning in multiple games this season. They did it on May 28 in Houston, and then again in the third inning on Monday, when David Bote, Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo all went deep. The common link between the two games? The Cubs lost both of them -- the only one of the five teams to do so.
"We're just not making the big pitch on the road," Cubs reliever Brandon Kintzler said. "At home, we're making the pitch. Maybe we're not matching the energy the opposite crowd is bringing. You have to slow the game down in those situations. Right now, we're just not getting that pitch."
That thinking would make even more sense if not for the pro-Cubs crowd in the stands at Coors Field. Like most places the Cubs travel to, you can't always tell which is the home team simply by listening. The visitors got plenty of support on Monday, including Darvish. He actually pitched well -- but only after giving back the lead just moments after the Cubs gave it to him. The bottom of the third inning featured long balls with a man on by Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado, erasing the four-run cushion just like that.
"I don't know why," Darvish said. "I have to find out. Next time we score, I will go 120 percent for that inning. ... I gave up four runs and no walks and threw a lot of strikes. Just that one inning."
The loss dropped the Cubs to 13-17 on the road and 11-11 in one run games. Four of their past six losses away from Wrigley Field have come by one run, so Kintzler's assessment might have some truth to it.
"We're in first place," he said. "Other teams that play us at home are going to bring energy. We have to be able to match it."
Darvish's ERA fell to 4.98 after six innings in which only those four third-inning runs crossed the plate. That's not bad at Coors Field, but it wasn't enough to win the game, either. Maddon shook his head when asked if the Cubs' road record was misleading at all. After all, seven of their 17 losses came in the opening 10 days of the season.
The Cubs skipper wasn't having any of it.
"You have to somehow win those games," he said. "At the beginning of the year, we scored and lost, and then we didn't score a lot and lost.
"There's not an intimidation factor. We just haven't gotten over other teams on the road. We just have to pick it up a little. I can't tell you we played badly. (We need to) get that winning vibe on the road and move on."