Hang­ing on for a win

ROCK­IES 9, PADRES 6 Mar­quez, Black­mon lead the way as Colorado gets home cook­ing

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nick Groke

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.

Matthew Stock­man, Getty Images

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.

David Zalubowski, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

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