Marquez's masterful performance lifts Rockies past Cubs

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[May 11, 2017]  DENVER -- While losing his first two starts this season at Coors Field, Colorado Rockies rookie German Marquez had an 11.70 ERA. His third start there Wednesday was so dazzling it summoned memories of Coors Field history.

The 22-year-old right-hander held the Chicago Cubs hitless until the seventh inning and drove in his first two runs with his first major league hit in the Rockies' 3-0 victory. He pitched a career-high eight innings and allowed three hits with one walk and a career-high tying eight strikeouts.

"For a young man against the world champions to do this, I mean, pretty special game," Rockies manager Bud Black said.

The win in the rubber game gave the Rockies their eighth series win this season and fourth in a row. At 22-13, the Rockies are off to the best start through 35 games in franchise history. The Cubs (17-17) have lost five of their past six games.

"This is kind of our worst baseball, right," Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said. "We're not hitting the panic button at all. We know the talent we have here. We've had a pretty tough schedule, some long games and rain delays. It can affect you."

Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers threw the only no-hitter in Coors Field history on Sept. 17, 1996. Marquez (1-2) said he thought about the possibility of throwing a no-hitter in the fifth. He got a big lift in the sixth when right fielder Carlos Gonzalez robbed Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks of a hit.

Running toward the foul line, Gonzalez laid out for Hendricks' liner and caught the ball. An appreciative Marquez looked toward Gonzalez and thanked him by lifting his cap.

Marquez held the Cubs hitless until Bryant led off the seventh with a double, lining a 2-0 changeup toward the left-field corner. Marquez had retired 16 straight batters since issuing a two-out walk to Kyle Schwarber in the first.

But Marquis retired Schwarber on a comebacker, struck out Jeimer Candelario and retired Miguel Montero on a grounder to second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who was positioned in short right field.

"He's got pretty good fastball command overall," said Rockies catcher Ryan Hanigan, who caught Marquez earlier in the season at Triple-A Albuquerque. "It's real explosive down in the zone, and he can throw the ball up. He can run it a little bit.

"But today he used all four (pitches). He had a great curveball, a slider that we used just to keep hitters off the curveball and the heater, not really for much more. Threw four or five of them. And a pretty good changeup he used today in big situations."

Hendricks (2-2), who gave up an unearned run in the fourth on Ian Desmond's sacrifice fly after an error by shortstop Javier Baez, gave up two singles in the seventh. Carl Edwards Jr. got a groundout that moved the runners into scoring position, and Black decided to let Marquez bat against Edwards, who entered the game with a 0.64 ERA and had allowed four hits in 14 innings.

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Rockies starting pitcher German Marquez (48) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

"Our guy off the bench obviously has a better chance to get a hit against Edwards than Marquez," Black said. "But I thought Marquez had a good chance to put up a zero in the eighth inning the way he was throwing the baseball."

Hitless in 12 career at-bats when he stepped in against Edwards, fell into an 0-2 hole before he pulled a 94 mph fastball into left field to make the score 3-0.

"I didn't look at that pitch, just swung," Marquez said.

Marquez gave up consecutive one-out singles in the eighth to Tommy La Stella and pinch-hitter Ben Zobrist. The runners moved into scoring position when pinch-hitter Willson Contreras grounded to second but were stranded when Marquez induced Jon Jay to ground to third.

"It was a great mix today," said Hanigan, who caught both of Homer Bailey's no-hitters with Cincinnati. "He's pitching. He wasn't just throwing, trying to overpower guys. He was keeping them off balance, making pitches, and it was fun."

Closer Greg Holland retired the side in order in the ninth and picked up his 14th save in as many chances.

NOTES: Cubs SS Addison Russell was scratched from the lineup due to right shoulder soreness. ... Rockies C Tony Wolters (concussion) took batting practice in the indoor cage for the first time since he suffered a concussion May 2. ... Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo was rested, as was Rockies SS Trevor Story. ... Cubs RHP Dylan Floro was optioned to Triple-A Iowa, two days after he was brought up from that club. 3B-1B Jeimer Candelario, who was brought up to be the 26th man on the roster for the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader, was kept on the roster and was in the lineup for the second straight game batting cleanup. ... Rockies RHP Jeff Hoffman, the 26th man on the roster for Tuesday's second game, was removed from the roster.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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