Mar­quez gets out of jam

Pitcher got crit­i­cal third out in fifth in­ning with bases loaded

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle New­man Kyle New­man: 303-954-1773 knew­man@den­ver­ or @KyleNew­manDP

Ger­man Mar­quez’s pitch­ing line from Thurs­day af­ter­noon’s no-de­ci­sion at Coors Field wasn’t spec­tac­u­lar, and it wasn’t ter­ri­ble, ei­ther: His three earned runs over six in­nings can be con­sid­ered a qual­ity start, even if those num­bers are the base­lines for de­ter­min­ing the statis­tic.

De­spite the lack of piz­zaz, the right-han­der faced a huge mo­ment of truth dur­ing the Rock­ies’ even­tual 5-4 walk-off win against the Mets.

That mo­ment came in the fifth in­ning. The Mets had the bases loaded with one out and had al­ready scored one run in the frame to even the game at 2-2. Step­ping to the plate next was Yoe­nis Ce­s­pedes, who took Mar­quez deep 440 feet to left the pre­vi­ous in­ning.

Mar­quez fed Ce­s­pedes three straight curve­balls, two of which the out­fielder fouled off, be­fore blow­ing a 99 mph fast­ball by him to get the strike­out. The rookie then in­duced a Jay Bruce li­ne­out to end the threat and punc­tu­ate a bear-down in­ning that speaks to the pitcher’s evolv­ing ma­tu­rity.

“There comes a time when a pitcher has to make a pitch at a crit­i­cal mo­ment, and Mar­quez did to­day,” man­ager Bud Black said. “That’s a great sign of a guy who’s de­vel­op­ing as a pitcher.”

Mar­quez noted he had a lit­tle “some­thing ex­tra” on the de­ci­sive heater to Ce­s­pedes, who had home­red on a fast­ball.

“When Ce­s­pedes hit the homer ear­lier in the game, Mar­quez just didn’t quite get the fast­ball to the lo­ca­tion he wanted,” Black said. “It was a lit­tle bit up when he tried to run it down and in, and Ce­s­pedes can get on the fast­ball. By con­trast the punch out was el­e­vated, and in on the hands.”

And with im­prov­ing stats since the all-star break — the first half of the sea­son he posted a 4.36 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, while in his four se­cond-half starts he has a 3.38 ERA and 1.01 WHIP — Mar­quez’s per­for­mance in the se­ries fi­nale against New York has his team’s new­est mem­ber be­liev­ing in his abil­ity to make an im­pact down the stretch.

“He gave us a chance to win to­day, and that’s what’s most im­por­tant,” said catcher Jonathan Lu­croy, who made his first start for the club. “He kept them from hav­ing that big in­ning, and to me, that’s re­ally what won the game for us.”

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