DENVER - German Marquez was the man of the match-up in just about every way imaginable on Wednesday afternoon. A day after the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs traded routes defined by mistake-riddled innings, the rubber match came down -- mostly -- to one man. That (young) man came into this game with a 7.31 ERA on the season but showed no fear of the defending champs, powering the Rockies to a 3-0 win with both his arm ... and his bat.
Marquez walked Kyle Schwarber in the first inning then went on to not allow another base runner until Kris Bryant broke up the no-hit bid to lead off the seventh inning.
Ian Desmond scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly, scoring Nolan Arenado who had singled and moved up on an error and a walk.
With two outs in the sixth, Marquez got a little help from another brilliant defensive play. Carlos Gonzalez' third in two days:
Perhaps even more impressive than beginning the game with six hitless frames was the way Marquez responded to the hit he did give up. Oftentimes, when a pitcher loses a no-hitter or a perfect game late like that, they tend to lose focus for a while and usually give up a few more or some runs. Plus, a lead-off runner at second and against this lineup means the odds are not in your favor to keep the game scoreless. But that's exactly what Marquez did, settling down immediately, inducing a ground out from Schwarber, striking out Jeimer Candelario, and getting a final weak groundout from Miguel Montero to preserve the 1-0 lead.
The 22-year-old rookie (not to be confused with Antonio Senzatela, the Rockies other 22-year-old rookie who has been turning heads this season) showed even more how unshaken he was by losing the no-no, delivering the biggest hit of the game in the seventh, the very first base hit of his MLB career.
Mark Reynolds singled to lead off the inning, it was the third time he had reached base in the game having accrued a pair of walks earlier in the game. Pat Valaika followed with a single of his own and Ryan Hanigan moved the runners to second and third with two outs. Marquez, having pitched so well in the game, was allowed to come to the plate and delivered a line drive to left field to make it 3-0, Rockies.
Reynolds, by the way, is now hitting .339 with an OBP of .402.
Marquez took the mound in the eighth with his heart still pounding from his first hit and pair of RBI and gave up a pair of one-out singles to Tommy La Stella and Ben Zobrist. Bud Black stuck with his rookie, though, and Marquez got two more groundouts to keep the shutout intact. Marquez finished with a Game Score of 88, which is the sixth-best mark in franchise history.
His final line: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 8 K. He threw 99 pitches, 69 for strikes. No matter how you look at it, but especially when you remember his age and this was only the fifth start of his MLB career, it was one of the best-pitched games Colorado has ever seen.
Greg Holland came on in the ninth and recorded his 14th save in 14 tries with a pair of punchouts. He has been absolutely stellar for the Rockies and may indeed end up being one of the biggest free agent acquisitions in franchise history.
With as big a series win as you are going to get in May, Rockies moved to 22-13 and remain two games up on the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West.