Hanging on for a win
ROCKIES 9, PADRES 6 Marquez, Blackmon lead the way as Colorado gets home cooking
The last time the Rockies won consecutive games — an eon ago, or at least June 20 — Nolan Arenado blasted a cycle-capping, walk-off home run.
Since then, they wandered a desert trail of ordinary, never pitching well enough to match the bats or never slugging when the arms were slinging. They sank from first place to third in the National League West.
On Monday night back at Coors Field in front of a crowd of 37,561, the Rockies jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 9-6 victory over the San Diego Padres.
Colorado finally, won a second game in a row, after romping 13-4 against the Mets in New York on Sunday.
“It’s nice to be home,” left fielder Ian Desmond said. “Home cooking is always good.”
Gerardo Parra and Charlie Blackmon
each hit solo home runs, Trevor Story knocked in three runs.
“We had some good at-bats in New York. And at our hitters meeting today, we talked about, ‘Let’s carry it over,’ ” Rockies manager Bud Black said.
On the mound, rookie righthander German Marquez (7-4) struck out nine Padres hitters.
“There are a lot of keys to successful pitching, but keeping a hitter off balance and disrupting their timing is up at the top,” Black said. “With German, his ability to land some breaking balls and mix in some changeups is good stuff. And when you can reach back and throw a 98 mph fastball, that’s an advantage as well.”
Two victories do not really make a streak. But the Rockies have a hole to dig out from, and consecutive wins are a step up.
“Just play hard and happy — it’s a game,” Parra said, when asked the key to rounding into form.
The Rockies are 11 games in the wake of the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, but the Rockies (54-41) moved 12½ games ahead of the fourth-place Padres (4052), who had won two in a row and seven of 10 coming in.
This is the Rockies’ lot: Their chances to win the West are fading toward black, but the playoffs are very much in play. They are sitting strong in a wild-card spot. But after losing 15-of-20 games since Arenado’s highlight-reel homer way back when, Colorado’s hold on the postseason became tenuous.
“It’s still too early to be looking at the standings,” Desmond said. “We have some things to address, and it looks like we are.”
What they hope will be a turnaround started Monday from the jump. After Marquez struck out Manuel Margot and Wil Myers in the first inning, Blackmon led off the bottom half with a towering, 451-foot shot off the third-deck facade in right field, his teamleading 22nd homer.
Story’s two-run double in the third inning helped the Rockies bat around their order in a five-run frame, giving them a 7-2 lead. Parra’s looper to the left-field seats in the seventh made it 8-3.
The Padres cut the lead to 8-6 in the top of the eighth as Colorado needed four relievers to get through the inning, but DJ LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly brought home Pat Valaika with a big insurance run in the bottom half for a threerun lead.
Rockies closer Greg Holland finished it out from there for his 29th save in 30 chances.
Marquez gave up a two-run homer in the second to light-hitting Jabari Blash. But Marquez quickly settled in, forcing an inning-ending, double-play groundout to Arenado in the third. Marquez struck out five batters from the fourth and through the sixth innings, setting up a well-placed fastball with a roundhouse curve.
Rockies starting pitcher German Marquez delivers a pitch during the first inning Monday night at Coors Field against the San Diego Padres. Rookie Marquez went 6M innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, matching his career high with nine strikeouts and walking two.
The San Diego Padres’ Carlos Asuaje dives back into first base during the first inning Monday night at Coors Field as Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds fields a pickoff attempt from German Marquez.