Colorado’s bats weren’t exactly on fire, but they did just enough to back up Germán Márquez’s dominant start and collect the 1-0 victory over the Twins on Friday.
Defensive power plays
Colorado’s defense has had its fair share of troubles this season, but they were out to prove something on Friday evening. It started early in the game when, in the bottom of the first inning, Max Kepler took his at-bat with one out and a runner on first. Kepler then sent a ball down the right field line that was snagged by a leaping C.J. Cron, saving a double and a potential run for the Rockies.
Connor Joe then got in on the action with a pair of over-the-shoulder grabs in the second and third innings to rob Minnesota’s lineup of extra bases.
Connor Joe makes another great catch in left pic.twitter.com/hfwWRpI7p9— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) June 25, 2022
In a low-scoring game such as this, plays like these were pivotal in keeping things close and giving Márquez assistance.
Dylan Bundy did an admirable job for the Twins, garnering weak contact and running into few issues throughout his start against the Rockies. What he couldn’t do was score runs, and Minnesota’s offense was unable to back up his outing with run support. It was therefore the one run he allowed that ended up making the difference in the game.
In the top of the sixth, Joe singled with one out before moving to third base on Yonathan Daza’s hit-and-run base hit. Charlie Blackmon then grounded into what appeared to have been a possible inning-ending double play, but the veteran hustled up the line and beat out the throw, which allowed Connor Joe to score and put the Rockies up 1-0.
This one run was critical, especially as the Rockies had such trouble scoring throughout the game. They grounded into three double plays on the evening, and were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Márquez’s breakaway outing
This is the Márquez we’ve been waiting for. He spun the best outing of his season thus far as he held the Twins scoreless for 7 2⁄3 innings. It wasn’t perfect - five walks is an alarming number, especially when four of them led off innings - but he showed grit in getting out of jams and forcing weak contact throughout.
No inning exemplified his toughness more than his final frame, in which he walked leadoff batter Ryan Jeffers to put the tying run on first. The dangerous Byron Buxton came up to pinch-hit, but Márquez struck him out before coaxing a popup off the bat of Arráez. Carlos Correa then grounded to third base, but Ryan McMahon threw low to first and the ball sputtered away, which unfortunately ended Márquez’s evening before he could record his 24th out. Daniel Bard then entered to record a four-out save, the first of which was a ground out off the bat of Max Kepler to end the eighth-inning threat.
Bard then took care of things in the ninth and the Rockies took home the W in game one.
The Rockies and Twins play the second game of their series tomorrow. The game will see Colorado’s Antonio Senzatela (3-3, 4.42 ERA) take on Minnesota’s Chris Archer (1-3, 3.44 ERA).
First pitch is at 6:15pm MDT. See you then!
Now let’s go win a Stanley Cup!