Rox rally falls short as Cubs come back

Rox rally falls short as Cubs come back

CHICAGO -- Many bizarre happenings fall under the category of "that's baseball," but even veteran Todd Helton had difficulty categorizing Monday night's 10-9 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field in front of 40,269.

"Things happen. ... I've never seen it before," Helton said.

Actually, two of the losses during this road trip, on which the Rockies are 0-4, were similar. And the Rockies, after winning 20-of-27 before the current trip, are back at the starting point of .500 (38-38).

On Monday, the Rockies overcame an 8-3 deficit in the ninth. Helton had an RBI double, followed by RBI singles by Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe. Troy Tulowitzki's three-run homer off Bob Howry (4-4) made it 9-8.

But closer Brian Fuentes (0-2) gave up three hits, and a two-out error by second baseman Kazuo Matsui loaded the bases for Alfonso Soriano's two-run single.

It was much like Friday night in Toronto, when Tulowitzki's 10th-inning, two-run homer gave the Rockies a lead, but Fuentes suffered the blown save. The winning run scored on catcher Chris Iannetta's throwing error.

Had Tulowitzki's homer Monday -- his seventh, but his fourth in five games -- stood as the winning hit, the Rockies would have tied a club record for the largest road deficit overcome in a victory, five runs.

"To come back like that, get a lead going into the ninth and have 'Tito' [Fuentes] come into the game is right where you want to be," Tulowitzki said. "At the end of the game to look at the scoreboard and know you've lost is definitely kind of frustrating."

With two out and two on, Ryan Theriot hit a bouncer behind the bag, but a stumbling Matsui dropped the ball before he could flip to second.

"It hopped a little bit, but it's an error," said Matsui, who had not committed an error this season. "No excuse for that."

At Toronto, three of the four hits off Fuentes were soft. Monday, only Koyie Hill's two-out single to left was a poor pitch -- not that Fuentes plans to relive it.

"I don't need to look at any tape," Fuentes said. "You have to move on. It's not going to get any better thinking about it."

Manager Clint Hurdle can think about his club overcoming yet another poor start, this by Jeff Francis (six runs, 10 hits in five innings).

"Just when you think you have seen about everything, you haven't seen everything," Hurdle said. "To throw six up there late like that, that was sight for sore eyes. And unfortunately we couldn't close it off."

Francis, Aaron Cook, Jason Hirsh and Josh Fogg -- four-fifths of the starting rotation -- have a 9.90 ERA with 31 hits against in 20 2/3 innings this road trip.

Francis, who yielded three of Mike Fontenot's five hits and gave up a three-run, Angel Pagan homer in the first inning, was 6-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his previous nine starts.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.