German Márquez could sense his delivery speeding up. So the Colorado Rockies pitcher made a concerted effort to slow things down, putting a halt to his team’s four-game losing streak in the process.
The 24-year-old struck out seven over eight dominant innings in a 5-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night, never allowing a runner to third base while giving up three hits and just one walk.
“The first couple innings I was a little quick with my mechanics,” Márquez said. “I made that adjustment after that, and all my pitches seemed to be there after that.”
Certainly looked that way.
Aside from a sinking line drive by Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds in the first that scooted under the glove of leftfielder David Dahl and turned into a double, Márquez (5-2) overwhelmed the Pirates. He retired 10 straight at one point and sent down nine of the final 10 batters he faced after getting out of a two-on, two-out jam in the fifth.
“He was sharp,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He was really tough on the right-handed hitters. We weren’t able to string anything together against him.”
Trevor Story hit his 11th homer of the season for the Rockies. Charlie Blackmon went 3 for 5 for Colorado, including a two-run triple to left off Chris Archer (1-4) in the fourth. Story homered for the second straight game when his shot to deep left field in the third inning glanced off the glove of Pittsburgh leftfielder Bryan Reynolds and into the seats.
That was more than enough offense for Márquez, who gave the Rockies just their second win during their current eight-game road swing by shutting down the surging Pirates. Márquez improved to 4-1 in his career against the Pirates and lowered his road ERA this season to 2.08.
Pittsburgh came in off a 7-4 road trip through St. Louis, Arizona and San Diego but never found its footing against Marquez. First baseman Josh Bell — who entered the game with a major-league leading 44 RBIs, the third-most by a Pirates player through 44 games since it became an official statistic in 1920 — went 0 for 4. Bell’s teammates didn’t fare much better. Pittsburgh mustered only Reynolds’ double and a pair of singles in the fifth by Melky Cabrera and Francisco Cervelli.
The Pirates have been able to keep pace in the crowded NL Central despite a patched together starting rotation. Archer — who missed three weeks with inflammation in his right thumb before returning last week — was hoping to go deep to give Hurdle more options for Wednesday, when reliever Montana DuRapau will work as an “opener.”
Instead, Archer needed 23 pitches to get through a scoreless first inning and 92 in all while allowing four runs, three earned, in five innings.
“If I could have made a couple of pitches, some key pitches, the outcome of the game might have been a little different,” Archer said. “Looking at the bright side, it’s a step in the right direction. I felt like I had more left in me.”
Archer could have used a break or two, too, in an effort to get his first win since April 7. It didn’t happen. Daniel Murphy led off with a double and moved to third on a grounder by Ian Desmond. The Pirates appeared to have Murphy caught in a run down between third and home after a grounder by Tony Wolters, but Cervelli’s flip to third baseman Colin Moran deflected off Murphy’s helmet and rolled away from Moran, allowing Murphy to score. Story’s shot to left in the third pushed him into a tie with Nolan Arenado for the team lead in home runs.
“With the ball that went off Bryan’s glove, the dude hit it a long ways,” Archer said. “Good pitchers get out of those situations, they minimize the damage. I was really close but came up a little bit short.”
Rockies: Jon Gray (3-4, 4.73 ERA) is 0-1 with a 9.95 ERA in three starts against the Pirates.
Pirates: Could use an “opener” again on Wednesday.
AROUND THE MAJORS TUESDAY
–The New York Yankees had another productive evening at Camden Yards, reaching double-digits in runs for the second straight night. Clint Frazier homered twice and had a career-high five RBIs as the Yankees blasted the Orioles, 11-4. Gary Sánchez contributed a three-run drive for the Yankees, who erased a 6-1 deficit in Monday’s 10-7 win at Baltimore.
New York made it easy for Domingo Germán to win his sixth consecutive start and increase his major league-leading victory total at 9-1. The right-hander pitched only five innings and left with a 9-3 lead.
_ Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out a season-high 12 to lead the Astros to a 5-1 win over the White Sox. Verlander improved to 8-1 by allowing one hit and walking one in eight innings for his fourth straight win, losing the no-hitter when Jose Abreu homered in the seventh. Yuli Gurriel hit a solo shot to give the Astros home runs in 18 straight games, tying the second-longest streak in franchise history.
_ Marwin Gonzalez launched a two-run homer and drove in three as the sizzling Twins dumped the Angels, 8-3. Luis Arraez added a solo blast in Minnesota’s seventh victory in eight games. Eddie Rosario and Jorge Polanco each collected two RBIs to back Michael Pineda (pih-NAY’-duh), who spotted Los Angeles a 3-0 lead before working six innings to get the win.
_ Rowdy Tellez homered twice and had five RBIs as the Blue Jays clobbered the Red Sox, 10-3. Tellez got the Blue Jays on the board in the fourth inning with a two-run shot off the third-deck façade above right field, one pitch before Randal Grichuk went deep. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was 2-for-5 with a pair of runs and Brandon Drury was 2 for 3 with three RBIs as Toronto tied its highest-scoring output this season.
_ The Athletics picked up their fifth win in a row as pinch-hitter Mark Canha’s two-run homer off struggling Trevor Bauer in the third inning led a 5-3 victory over the Indians. Canha replaced injured slugger Khris Davis and connected off Bauer, who needed 123 pitches to complete six innings. Jurickson Profar homered in the eighth as Oakland improved to 7-1 against AL Central teams this season.
_ Lance Lynn allowed two runs and just five singles over seven innings of his 200th career start as the Rangers earned a 5-3 decision over the Mariners. Shawn Kelley earned the save hours after learning that two lumps removed from his throat last week were benign. Nomar Mazara had three hits, drove in a run and scored twice in the Rangers’ sixth win in seven games.
_ Clayton Kershaw took a shutout into the seventh inning and the Dodgers won for the sixth time in seven games by knocking off the Rays, 7-3. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner wound up allowing two runs, six hits, one walk and had eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Los Angeles has won 15 consecutive regular season games started by Kershaw.
_ Eric Hosmer’s two-run, opposite-field home run off Zack Greinke highlighted a three-run sixth in the Padres’ 3-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. Winning pitcher Matt Strahm allowed solo homers to Eduardo Escobar and John Ryan Murphy among his four hits in six innings. Greinke recorded his 2,500th career strikeout in the fourth inning and was working on a one-hit shutout when he ran into trouble in the sixth.
_ The Cubs scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to pull out a 3-2 win against the Phillies. Kris Bryant had three hits and scored twice, tying the game when he beat a throw to the plate. Pinch-hitter Javier Báez won it with an RBI single to complete the rally after the Cubs coughed up a ninth-inning lead against Philadelphia on Monday.
_ Sonny Gray and three Cincinnati relievers combined on a six-hitter in a 3-0 shutout of the Brewers. Gray tied his season high with nine strikeouts over six innings of his first win as a Red. It was the major league-leading seventh shutout for the Reds as the Brewers were blanked for the first time this season
_ The Giants were able to celebrate a 4-3 win over the Braves after Joe Panik hit a game-ending two-run single off Atlanta closer Luke Jackson with two outs in the ninth. Panik and Buster Posey had two hits apiece for San Francisco, which had scored just four runs in losing its previous four meetings with Atlanta. The Giants rallied after Braves starter Julio Teheran struck out six and gave up three hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings.
_ The Mets pulled out a 6-5 win over the Nationals on Amed Rosario’s infield single with two out in the bottom of the ninth. Pete Alonso set a club record for homers by a rookie before the All-Star break when he tied the game with a solo blast in the eighth. Zack Wheeler gave up three runs and four hits in seven innings for the Mets, who have won two straight since a five-game slide.
_ The Marlins blew a 4-2 lead in the ninth before Chad Wallach hit a tiebreaking double in the 11th inning to send Miami past the Tigers, 5-4. Harold Ramirez and Brian Anderson also homered for the Marlins, who have won four straight since a seven-game losing streak. Detroit forced extra innings by scoring two unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth, a rally that included an error, two replay reversals and the ejection of Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire.