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Marquez brilliant, Arenado clutch as Rox defeat the champs

Drew Creasman Avatar
August 15, 2018

The Colorado Rockies entered this two-game series against the defending World Champion Houston Astros having played 38 straight games against teams with a record of .500 or better.

In their 39th such game, a sterling performance from their starter and a power display from their stars improved their record to 26-13 over that span, thanks to a 5-1 win.

Nolan Arenado, on account of him being arguably the greatest defender to ever play the hot corner, hasn’t played a lot of Designated Hitter in his career. But nursing a shoulder injury that has limited his ability to throw the baseball but, he claims, not affecting his swing, he found himself doing exactly that on Tuesday night, leaving the defensive duties to Pat Valaika.

We soon found out… he was right about his shoulder.

Astros starter and almost certain Hall-of-Famer one day, Justin Verlander, came into the game stuck on 199 career wins. He pitched well, as he usually does, but a late rally from the Rockies made sure that win No. 200 would have to wait.

German Marquez has 21 wins in his career. But on this night he stood toe-to-toe with an all-time great and showed that he can dance on the big stage with the big boys. Going seven strong and surrendering just one run, Marquez now has a 2.91 ERA his past eight games (52.2 IP, 17 ER) with seven quality starts.

The Astros had three base runners against Marquez but no hits until the first batter in the bottom of the fifth. Yuli Gurriel jumped on a fastball and drove it into the right-center field gap for his first triple of the season, an easy one of the stand-up variety. He scored with ease when Josh Reddick ripped a line drive single to right, finally breaking the scoreless tie.

Reddick moved up on a ball in the dirt that also produced a strikeout and sprinted over to third on a deep fly ball to center. But Marquez limited the damage, striking out Martin Maldanado to strand Reddick at third.

The Rockies got their fourth hit against Verlander with two outs in the sixth. Carlos Gonzalez got jammed but was able to muscle a sinking liner out into center field for a single. That’s when Arenado, despite clearly still feeling the effects of a sore shoulder, smashed a line drive down the right-field line, finding the short porch for a clutch two-run home run that put the Rockies on top.

CarGo’s hit was the 1,300th in his Rockies career, joining Larry Walker and Todd Helton as the only players in franchise history to reach that mark.

Arenado’s home run was his 30th of the season. That’s the second most in the National League. It is his fourth straight season with at least 30 home runs.

Marquez backed that up with a quick and clean, 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth.

Colorado didn’t get a ton of traffic against Verlander but did manage to drive up his pitch count which paid off when the Astros had to go to their bullpen in the seventh. Collin McHugh, who has been one of the best relievers in baseball this season, plunked Ryan McMahon in the foot and then gave up an unlikely double to Tony Wolters who turned on an inside fastball, ripping a double to right.

Because he was off on the pitch, and also because the throw home was a bit offline, McMahon was able to score from first with ease. Wolters was stranded at second, however.

Marwin Gonzalez began the bottom of the seventh with a double into the gap in left but Marquez left him where he stood. He got Yuli Gurriel to ground out to short then endured frustration when it appeared he had struck out Reddick only for an interference call to be made against Wolters behind the plate.

That is the third catcher’s interference call on the Rockies in the last month.

Bud Black came out to the mound but decided to stick with his younger starter. Marquez rewarded that faith by retiring Evan Gattis and Kyle Tucker in quick succession on soft-contact outs to strand a pair and preserve the two-run Rockies lead.

Colorado picked up an insurance run on Trevor Story’s 25th home run of the season, a screaming line drive into the Crawford Boxes in left.

They got another in the ninth when Ian Desmond, who entered the game as part of a double switch, cracked a triple off the wall in left, nearly leaving the ballpark. Wolters was unable to get him in with a grounder but Charlie Blackmon’s single up the middle did the job to plate another and give Colorado a 5-1 lead. A DJ LeMahieu single and Arenado walk loaded the bases to give Story a chance to blow it wide open, but he struck out.

Wade Davis worked the ninth despite it no longer being a save situation. He induced a pair of weak groundouts before striking out Reddick to end it.

Colorado improved to 64-55 and are momentarily a half-game back of first place in the NL West.

Final Stats:

German Marquez: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K


Nolan Arenado: 1-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI (HR: 30)

Trevor Story: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI (HR: 25)

Tony Wolters: 1-for-3, 1 RBI

What’s Next:

Game 2 of this two-gamer will see Tyler Anderson face off against Gerrit Cole. First pitch on Wednesday evening at 6:10 Mountain Time.

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