The Colorado Rockies avoided a sweep at the hand of the St. Louis Cardinals behind two five-run innings and a strong Germán Márquez start.
Márquez continued the season-long year of the rookie for the Rockies in his first major-league start. Working with a reduced pitch count, since it had been 18 days since his last start, Marquez still pitched five solid innings, throwing 82 pitches and 50 strikes. Márquez was as promised, showing a dancing fastball that varied between the low and mid 90s, and a strong curveball that devastated the Cardinals hitters when he was able to set it up with his fastball command. Márquez will still be a rookie next year, along with Jeff Hoffman and Raimel Tapia. An “year of the rookie encore” might be in order.
Two hit by pitches were the biggest blemish on Márquez’s line, as he allowed only four hits, a walk, and one earned run. Both hit by pitches were on curveballs that appeared to have slipped from his grip.
The Rockies scored a run in the first inning due to a two-base error by Luke Weaver, who tried to pick Charlie Blackmon off first base. The Cardinals tied it up in the top of the second after a lead-off bloop double down the left-field line.
In the bottom of the second, the Rockies gave the pitching staff all the support they would need. With one run already scored on a Blackmon RBI single, the Cardinals pitched around Carlos González to load the bases for Nolan Arenado, who hit the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for a grand slam and a 6-1 Rockies lead. It was the seventh Rockies grand slam of the season.
The Rockies scored five runs in the eighth inning as well, with the highlight being a three-run Tom Murphy homer. Murphy has kept his hot streak going since his September call-up
Chris Rusin and Jordan Lyles combined to strike out eight batters in three innings of scoreless relief before Matt Carasiti pitched a scoreless ninth and ended the game with a nice defensive play of his own.
The Hartford Yard Goats had six players named to the Easter League All-Star game this year. Five of those players, Ramiel Tapia, David Dahl, Carasiti, Marquez and Pat Valaika all made appearances for the Rockies today. Dillon Thomas, who is not on the Rockies 40-man roster, was the only Yard Goat All-Star missing.
At 21 years 212 days, Germán Márquez was the third youngest Rockies pitcher to make a start in franchise history.