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DENVER – The past few games for Colorado Rockies’ starter German Marquez have been brilliant personally but have not resulted in wins for the club.
On Tuesday night in the second of three against the San Francisco Giants, he looked doom to fall to that fate once again with the offense sputtering behind another dazzling performance.
He worked 6.2 innings and struck out 11, allowing just two runs but departed the field down by one.
It was the fifth double-digit strikeout game of Marquez’ career and only the fourth time in franchise history a pitcher has managed that feat in consecutive games. Jon Gray was the last to do it in September of 2016.
Luckily for him this time, the Colorado offense sprang into action late with a huge seventh inning, powering them to a 6-2 that keeps them atop the standings in the NL West.
Predictably, with the Rockies odd first-inning issue, the Giants took the lead in the opening frame. Gregor Blanco began things with a single to left and a steal of second base. Joe Panik followed that up with a jam-shot single just by Arenado at third for a single to fire the first shot. Marquez retired the next three in order.
The Rockies pulled even in the bottom of the second when David Dahl hit a laser line drive over the high fence in right-center field for a solo home run, his ninth round-tripper of the year.
Marquez went on a stretch where he allowed just one single over 17 at-bats before Brandon Belt hit a hard line drive single to right and he walked his first batter of the game, losing a battle to Evan Longoria. But he bounced back to strike out Brandon Crawford, ending the threat while earning his 10th strikeout of the game.
He came back out for the seventh having thrown 92 pitches and still stuck in a 1-1 tie. Nick Hundley led the inning off with a bloop single to right but was caught trying to advance on a ball in the dirt by a nice throw from Tony Wolters and an athletic jumping swipe tag from Trevor Story. Marquez then struck out Chris Shaw but hung a two-out 0-1 slider to Gorkys Hernandez who has haunted the Rockies all season. It was his seventh home run of the year against the Rox.
Hernandez clobbered the pitch and drove it over the wall in left-center field for his 15th home run of the season, giving the Giants a 2-1 lead.
A single from Ryder Jones and a walk to Blanco led manager Bud Black to remove Marquez from the game and call on southpaw Chris Rusin to face lefty Joe Panik. Perhaps trying to settle into that role, Rusin got the job done, inducing a weak grounder to first, stranding a pair of inherited runners and moving the game to the bottom of the seventh still a one-run affair.
The Rockies responded in a huge way. The bottom of the frame began with frustration when pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra was called out on a check swing when it appeared he held up, earning the walk. A second straight pinch-hitter, Ryan McMahon, then strode to the plate and somehow delivered another big clutch late-game hit, launching one deep over the wall in center field for his fifth home run of the year, tying the game at two runs apiece.
Charlie Blackmon then hit a chopper into no man’s land behind the mound for an infield hit and DJ LeMahieu drew a walk. Once both moved up on a ball in the dirt, the Giants elected to intentionally pass on Nolan Arenado, loading the bases up for Carlos Gonzalez.
The longest-tenured Rockie fell behind 0-2 but took one out of the zone before going down and shooting a sinker the opposite way into the left-center field gap for a bases-clearing, three-run triple.
After another intentional walk, this time of Story, Dahl struck out but Desmond worked a normal walk to load the bases once more for Parra’s second at-bat of the inning. This time, he had no such issue taking ball four, bringing in the fifth run of the inning before McMahon struck out to end it.
After entering the inning down 2-1, the Rockies emerged up 6-2.
Adam Ottavino pitched a 1-2-3 eighth getting a beautiful sliding catch from Dahl for the final out in the eighth.
Despite it not being a save situation, the Rockies went to closer Wade Davis for the ninth. Things immediately got off to an inauspicious start with a five-pitch walk to Hundley and a single up the middle from Austin Slater.
But he got arguably the most dangerous hitter in the Giants lineup when he sees purple on the other side, Hernandez, to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Alen Henson ripped a liner toward right but Desmond reached up and grabbed it for the final out.
Colorado improves to 76-52 and remains in first place in the NL West.
German Marquez: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 K
Chris Rusin: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Adam Ottavino: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Carlos Gonzalez: 1-for-4, 3 RBI
Charlie Blackmon: 3-for-4, 1 R
David Dahl: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI (HR: 9)
The final game of the series is set for Wednesday evening. Antonio Senzatela will look to follow up his solid start in his last outing, facing off against lefty Andrew Suarez. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 Mountain Time.