Coors Field no friend of struggling rotation as Cubs lose 10-4

DENVER – Jake Arrieta’s rough stretch this season hit another skid in the third inning Tuesday afternoon as the Rockies batted around on the Cubs’ former Cy Young Award winner on the way to a 10-4 victory over the Cubs in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Coors Field.

Arrieta (4-2) gave up six hits and a walk in the six-run third – with only two of the runs earned after a one-out throwing error by shortstop Javy Baez on an ill-advised attempt to throw out the lead runner at third.

It was the fourth loss in row for the Cubs, who fell to 16-16.

Unable to pitch around the error effectively, Arrieta wound up with his shortest start as a Cub when he failed to get out of a three-run fourth.

Jake Arrieta Tuesday at Coors Field

The 3 2/3-inning start was his shortest since July 5, 2012, when he was with the Orioles.

It also came just two starts after his 72-start streak of pitching at least five innings – which was the longest active such streak in the majors – ended with a 4 1/3-inning start in Boston.

Arrieta’s struggles are part of a larger issue with a starting rotation that led the majors with a 2.96 collective ERA last year.

Four of the top starters returned from that group, which has gone 11-9 with a 4.81 rotation ERA this year, averaging just 5 1/3 innings a start.

The doubleheader was created by Monday’s rain postponement.