Cubs seek series victory over Rockies

Dominican righty Carlos Villanueva tries to make it two straight mound gems for the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night when they meet the Colorado Rockies for the middle game of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.

Travis Wood spun seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball and added a pair of hits, an RBI and a run scored in Monday's opener to lead the Cubs to a 9-1 win.

Wood (4-2) walked three while fanning a pair to earn his second consecutive victory and notch his eighth straight quality start, becoming just the second Cubs pitcher to start a season with as many quality starts since Chicago moved to Wrigley Field in 1916.

Lefty Hippo Vaughn is the only other Cubs pitcher to accomplish the feat, which he did 94 years ago in 1919.

"I've been able to have good command of all my pitches," Wood said. "The team's played outstanding behind me and hopefully we keep it going."

Alfonso Soriano stroked a two-run homer, while David DeJesus, Starlin Castro and Nate Schierholtz each contributed two hits and two RBI for the Cubs, who have won three straight games.

Juan Nicasio (3-1) was tagged for five runs on eight hits over six frames to absorb the loss, Colorado's fifth in its last six games.

Josh Rutledge clubbed a solo shot in the ninth for the Rockies' lone run.

Colorado won four of six head-to-head meetings last season.

Villanueva split time between relieving and starting last season with the Toronto Blue Jays and was 7-7 with a 4.16 earned run average in 125 1/3 innings.

He joined the Cubs in the offseason and was plugged into the starting rotation, where he opened with two no-decisions and a win in his initial three starts through April 18.

He's 0-2 with a pair of no-decisions in four starts since, however, while watching his ERA swell from 1.29 after three outings to 3.02 after seven.

Villanueva is 0-1 with three holds and two blown saves in 11 career meetings with the Rockies.

For Colorado, veteran lefty Jeff Francis tries to snap a six-start winless skid.

The 32-year-old was a 5-2 winner over San Diego to begin the season on April 5, tossing six innings of one-run, five-hit ball with a walk and five strikeouts.

He was shelled for seven runs in just 1 2/3 innings of work at San Francisco in his next outing five days later, and is 0-3 overall since the lone victory.

In six career meetings with the Cubs, Francis is 1-0 with a 7.67 ERA in 31 2/3 innings.