CHICAGO (AP) -- Denny Neagle had something to prove and he did it
with his changeup.
Neagle returned to the Colorado rotation and pitched two-hit
ball for six innings and Jay Payton doubled home two runs to give the Rockies a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.After giving up Fred McGriff's 471st career home run in the
second inning, Neagle retired the next 15 batters in order before
leaving for a pinch-hitter in the seventh."I could see the frustration in their faces, like (Moises) Alou's grimace (after striking out in the fourth),'' said Neagle. "I came at them with changeup after changeup. They expect fastball and I give them a changeup.''Neagle (5-7) ended his career-high five-game losing streak. He made his first start since July 2, when he gave up 10 runs and 10 hits in two innings against San Francisco."Before I was getting beaten because I wasn't going to my bread-and-butter changeup,'' said Neagle. "If it is working, go with it. Even the home run was a changeup. I left it up and I didn't get scared by it.''Neagle got to start again because the Rockies traded pitcher
John Thomson to the New York Mets on Wednesday in a deal that
brought Payton."He's hard to predict because he changes speed so much and when
he is on he's pretty tough,'' said Cubs interim manager Bruce Kimm.Neagle struck out six to get his first win since May 30 against
San Diego.Jose Jimenez pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 31 chances,
finishing the combined three-hitter. Payton helped him with a
diving catch in the left-center field gap on Mark Bellhorn's
leadoff drive."I saw the catcher set up outside, so I was expecting the ball,'' said Payton. "I got a good enough jump and I knew Gabe (Kapler) was backing me up.''Cubs starter Matt Clement (8-8) got in trouble in the fifth when
Sandy Alomar Jr. singled and Juan Uribe doubled. Payton's two-run
double put the Rockies ahead.Payton, batting in the leadoff spot, drove in his first runs since
Colorado's Larry Walker went 2-for-3 and extended his
hitting streak to 17 games. ... Cubs RHP Carlos Zambrano dropped
his appeal of a five-game suspension and began serving the penalty.
He was on a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Iowa when he
got into a bench-clearing brawl June 4.