Well that was fun, huh?
Germán Márquez looked great, the defense played well, and the offense... well, you saw the score. The Rockies took the first game of their series with the Pirates in resounding fashion, besting the Bucs 13-2 on Friday night.
Márquez’s milestone start
Germán Márquez seems to be finding the groove that he had been looking for in the earlier portion of the season as he locked down the Pirates on Friday night. He threw 6 2⁄3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out four and walking none. The right-hander mixed his pitches well, topping 98mph on his fastball at times and utilizing his offspeed pitches to induce weak contact throughout. He never ran into any significant trouble and was aided by some phenomenal defense behind him (more on that in just a bit).
The start was special beyond tonight, however, as Márquez also recorded the 900th strikeout of his career. That puts him in second place all-time in Colorado franchise history, trailing only Jorge De La Rosa’s 985.
Flashing the leather
There were some very nice plays on the Rockies defensive end to compliment Márquez’s start. The first of those came in the top of the third inning, which saw Jake Marisnick on second base after a leadoff double. Jason Delay moved Marisnick to third on a groundout, and Josh VanMeter sent an 0-1 fastball to left-center field for what seemed a sure-thing double. Instead, Kris Bryant took flight to complete a diving grab and steal a knock from VanMeter. Marisnick still scored on the sacrifice fly to put things at 1-1, but the play kept another runner off the basepaths and was a sight to behold (behold it below!).
Bryant would see his own double stolen by a diving Cal Mitchell in right field in the bottom of the third frame. All-Star reserve C.J. Cron would also get involved in the web gem action by snagging a Kevin Newman popup in foul territory in the fifth inning.
Knocks when you need ‘em
There was quite a bit of offense in this game, so bear with me while I touch on just the big highlights.
Colorado scored their initial run in the first inning on the strength of a Kris Bryant double and Charlie Blackmon RBI base hit, which was a grand old way to get the game started. After Pittsburgh tied things up in the third frame, the momentum shift of the Rockies offensive output could be measured in two at-bats in particular. The first was that of Brendan Rodgers, who faced down José Quintana with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the third inning. He laced Quintana’s full-count changeup down the right field line, clearing the bases and putting the home team up 4-1 early.
BRENDAN RODGERS BASES-CLEARING DOUBLE! pic.twitter.com/OWBU0F0HCi— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) July 16, 2022
Elías Díaz kept the team’s foot on the gas the next inning, as he scored Ryan McMahon and Randal Grichuk from second and third base, respectively, on his RBI single. He’d get another RBI base hit in the sixth inning - he and Rodgers combined to knock in seven of Colorado’s 13 total runs.
Back-to-back jacks get smacked
The first six innings were good, but the seventh was special. The Rockies fired off six straight hits - including back-to-back home runs by C.J. Cron (21st) and Rodgers (ninth) - to put the game completely out of reach for the Pirates. It’s the first time this season that Colorado has hit consecutive home runs - here’s hoping it’s not the last.
Out of Mister Rodgers' Neighborhood and into The Cron Zone™️ pic.twitter.com/SAb2DWF2iK— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 16, 2022
It didn’t end there, as hits by Garrett Hampson (who replaced José Iglesias at shortstop after Iggy’s neck tightened up following a collision at first base in the second inning), McMahon, and Grichuk knocked in yet more runs to turn the contest completely upside-down.
Robert Stephenson and Ty Blach took care of things after Márquez left, and the Rockies took down the Pirates in a laugher to get their series started off right.
Game two is tomorrow when these two teams run it back. That contest will see Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller (3-6, 4.88 ERA) take on Colorado’s nice surprise José Ureña (0-1, 2.66 ERA).
First pitch is at 1:10pm MDT. See you then!