The Chicago Cubs rebounded from a disappointing weekend with a thrilling victory over the Colorado Rockies in their series opener.
As dramatic as the finish was, that wasn't the only stunner of the evening as shortly after the game ended the Rockies reportedly traded five-time All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
Colorado has a big hole to fill after dealing one of its top players but may have an advantage Tuesday night at Wrigley Field with the red-hot Carlos Gonzalez having another favorable matchup.
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It was reported late Monday the Rockies (42-55) are trading Tulowitzki to Toronto in a deal for Jose Reyes and minor leaguers. Tulowitzki - in the midst of a six-year, $118 million contract that runs through 2020 - has been a mainstay in Colorado for 10 years and is the midst of another solid season, batting .300 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs.
Reyes, a four-time All-Star shortstop, is hitting .285 with 17 doubles, 16 stolen bases and 36 runs.
''I've talked to these guys as a group about all the distractions that come with the trade deadline,'' manager Walt Weiss said before Monday's 9-8 loss.
Chicago (52-46) appeared to be heading to a sure win, entering the ninth inning up 7-4, but the Rockies scored four times to take a one-run lead. Kris Bryant rescued the Cubs from a discouraging defeat by hitting a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to send the crowd into a frenzy.
"I think it wakes us up a little bit," said Bryant, who went 2 for 5 with three RBIs after going 6 for 50 with one homer and 23 strikeouts in his previous 13 games. "I think we were nonchalant the last couple of games, myself included, but the energy of a walkoff win, a walkoff home run, I think it'll pay off for us moving forward and spark that energy that we had earlier in the year."
Although the Cubs managed to keep pace with San Francisco in the wild-card race and dissolved some of the dejection from being swept by last-place Philadelphia over the weekend, the team still has some issues to resolve.
Rafael Soriano served up the go-ahead homer to Gonzalez - his second homer of the game - in his first appearance since surrendering Jeff Francoeur's 10th-inning homer in Friday's loss. Soriano came in for Jason Motte, who gave up three runs in the ninth.
"We have to sort it out, we have to keep trying to put the right guys on the right people in the latter part of the game," manager Joe Maddon said.
They don't have an ideal matchup from the start with right-hander Dallas Beeler (0-0, 6.43 ERA) going up against Gonzalez.
Beeler, who is making his fifth career start and seeking his first win, has done a solid job against right-handed hitters, limiting them to three hits in 17 at-bats, but lefties are 7 for 14 against him.
The left-handed hitting Gonzalez is batting .312 and has hit all 20 of his homers against righties. He is hitting .162 versus lefties.
Gonzalez has been on a tear lately with three two-homer games in his last four contests. He has 15 RBIs in his last five games and is batting .459 with 10 home runs in 15 contests since July 5.
''I feel thankful that I'm healthy and I'm able to put runs on the board,'' Gonzalez said.
Beeler gave up two runs in five innings in his season debut against St. Louis on July 7 before lasting two innings in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader in Cincinnati. He permitted five runs - three earned - in the second inning but the Cubs managed to rally for a 6-5 win.
The Rockies turn to Yohan Flande (0-1, 4.24), who is set to make his first start of the season after seven relief appearances. The left-hander's longest appearance of 2015 came against the Los Angeles Angels on July 7, when he gave up two hits over 5 2-3 scoreless innings.
Two of Flande's 10 starts last season came against the Cubs, and he had a 4.26 ERA in losing both. Flande is without a win in 23 career appearances.