He was so close.
Germán Márquez had a no-hitter going through eight innings. Through 87 pitches. Through 23 at-bats. Then, leading off the top of the ninth, Ka’ai Tom laced a single to right field to break it up. Despite the missed no-hitter, it was still an absolutely phenomenal night on the mound for the Rockies ace. Márquez forced 12 groundouts and also struck out five Pirates in a dominating shutout performance that was a pure joy to watch. The game went by fast, lasting only two hours and 18 minutes.
What’s even better is that the offense also showed up to make sure Márquez got the win. The Rockies jumped out to a 2-0 win and never looked back.
Special night for Márquez
This one felt special from the beginning, even though Márquez didn’t get his first strikeout until the fourth inning. The first inning only took seven pitches. He hit Jacob Stallings in the second inning and Stallings was the only Pirate on the bases through four innings. In the fourth, Márquez walked Phillip Evans, but Kevin Newman followed with a grounder that the Rockies turned into a double play. Evans was the last baserunner until Tom busted up the no-hitter.
After the game, the 26-year-old Venezuelan talked with Ryan Spilborghs and you could see the disappointment of not getting his first no-hitter and the first for the Rockies at Coors Field.
“I felt it early. I felt like I had a chance,” Márquez said through his translator. “One pitch, that’s all it was. Just one pitch. It is what it is.”
In his last three starts, Márquez has only given up four hits and one run in 22 innings. Even more impressive, two of those games have come at Coors Field. Márquez also added to the offensive fun, hitting two doubles. He came around to score on both and drove in a run of his own.
Defense to back it up
Just as Márquez felt the game could be special, the defense was there to do everything they could to help him get the no-hitter. In the very first at-bat of the game, just the second pitch, Adam Frazier hit a liner toward first and Joshua Fuentes made a diving catch to rob Frazier of a double. The Rockies also turned two double plays to help Márquez only face one over the minimum in the win.
Story took his defense to the next level as the game went on. In the seventh, Story grabbed a groundball that took a funky bounce off the mound and gunned it to first to retire Ke’Bryan Hayes. In the eighth, Story went even higher – by appearances several feet in the air – to rob Stallings of a hit.
It made most of the Rockies jump to celebrate, including Márquez.
“When Story made that play, it gave me more energy to keep going,” Márquez said.
Even after Tom’s single in the ninth, Tom didn’t last long on the basepaths as Michael Perez followed up the hit by grounding into a double play.
15 hits = Taco Tuesday
Outside of Yonathan Daza, every Rockie got at least one hit and six had more than one. Charlie Blackmon led the way with a 3-for-4 night with two runs scored and one RBI. Former Pirate Elias Díaz hit a 451-foot homer, a solo shot in the fifth, to put the Rockies up 3-0. Díaz has now hit homers in back-to-back games and now has four on the year.
Garrett Hampson also had a good night, getting two hits, including an RBI double. That came on three consecutive hits, which also all happened to come on the first pitch, in second inning when Ryan McMahon singled, Hampson doubled, and Fuentes singled to put the Rockies up 2-0.
Is it RBI or RBIs?— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) June 30, 2021
Either way, we brought 2 home pic.twitter.com/Cv5tzTjExC
Story also brought the bat to back up his amazing glove. When he hit an RBI double in the fifth, it not only put the Rockies up 5-0, but it was also Story’s 700th hit as a Rockie. He’s only the 15th player in team history to hit that mark.
Story finished the night with two hits and two RBI.
The Rockies will try to complete the sweep on Wednesday when Jon Gray (4-6, 3.97 ERA) takes on Pittsburgh’s Chad Kuhl (2-4, 5.05 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. MT.