With the Colorado Rockies mired in a seven-game losing streak, it was up to German Marquez to master the Mets and Mother Nature.
A day after the scheduled series opener between New York and the Colorado Rockies was postponed due to a blanket of snow that covered the Denver metro area, creating a doubleheader for the teams on Saturday, Marquez responded with a two-hit, complete-game masterpiece in the Rockies’ 7-2 victory in the nightcap before a crowd of 13,906 at chilly Coors Field.
Josh Fuentes blasted a three-run home run as part of a four-RBI performance while Garrett Hampson had two hits, including a double, and scored twice to help provide plenty of support for Marquez (1-1), who joined his team’s nine-hit offensive output with a base hit of his own.
The Rockies bullpen faltered in game one, though.
In the opener of the doubleheader in which both contests were seven-inning affairs, a leaky bullpen was once again the culprit for the Rockies as Colorado could not hold on to a two-run lead with two innings to play in falling 4-3 to the Mets.
Marquez was in trouble in only one inning—the fourth—when New York (6-4) scored both of its runs on a two-RBI double by Jeff McNeil.
Those runs sliced the Mets’ deficit to 3-2 after Colorado had gone ahead with a three-run first inning. Fuentes’ homer was part of a four-run fifth that put the game away.
Marquez issued just two walks and struck out six in his route-going outing. The Rockies right-hander retired the final six and nine of the last 10 batters he faced.
“Overall, I thought he threw the ball well,” Colorado manager Bud Black said about the outing by Marquez.
“I thought (he had) good use of the fastball tonight. His slider came into play with a few guys but overall it was a pretty heavy fastball attack. I thought he got the ball down well. I thought he moved it in and out. Got some ground balls tonight.”
The victory snapped Colorado’s seven-game losing skid, which matched the team’s longest losing streak of a year ago (Aug. 17-23, 2020).
In the first game of the doubleheader—the first home twinbill for Colorado since July 15, 2019, against San Francisco—the Rox wasted a solid performance by starting pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez, who was opposed by New York ace and flamethrower Jacob deGrom.
Gonzalez, making his second start of the season and first at Coors Field in 2021, pitched well enough to win for a second consecutive outing.
In his previous appearance, the Oral Roberts University product started and went five innings, allowing just four hits and one earned run against San Francisco. When he exited the game, Colorado led 3-1 before the Giants rallied for a 4-3 victory.
In much the same fashion, Gonzalez permitted six hits and just one run (earned) in five innings against New York. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning when the Rockies rallied for three unearned runs to take a 3-1 lead into the sixth.
While noting that Gonzalez did not necessarily have his “best stuff,” Black, nonetheless, was impressed with the right-hander’s 83-pitch performance against the National League East Division-leading Mets.
“I thought he really made some pitches,” Black said. “I thought he kept them off balance with his off-speed stuff. He got a couple of good double plays that got him out of jams.
“They battled back. They got some hits off him,” the manager added about New York’s six hits—all singles—surrendered by Gonzalez.
“He stayed right there with deGrom on the scoreboard. So, well-pitched by Chi Chi.”
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
New York had the leadoff hitter reach base in six of the seven innings in the opener, including four of five innings that Gonzalez was on the mound.
Despite having to pitch with runners on base in every inning but one (the fifth), Gonzalez kept the Mets at bay thanks to double-play grounders in the second and fourth innings, along with three strikeouts.
“You just have to minimize (and) take care of the baseball,” said Gonzalez, who lowered his season earned run average to 3.00 after his fourth appearance this season.
“You just got to keep the ball down, at any time two balls in play for me or any pitcher that comes in behind me. I was happy that we were able to handle it.”
Unfortunately, for Gonzalez and the Rockies, the team’s bullpen faltered in the final two innings.
In the sixth, Mychal Givens gave up a leadoff home run to Pete Alonso to make it a 3-2 game.
Daniel Bard then took over in the seventh in hopes of ending, at that point, the team’s six-game losing streak.
But the Mets greeted Bard with four consecutive hits to open the inning to notch the tying and game-winning runs.
In his six-inning stint, deGrom finished with 14 strikeouts, including nine in a row at one point. Mets reliever Edwin Diaz struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to notch the save and push the Rox strikeout total to 17.
All three runs allowed by deGrom, who earned his first win of the season, were unearned. He dropped his ERA to 0.45 while allowing three hits.
The Rockies now have a record of 4-11 on the season and if they win the rubber game on Sunday, they will win their second series of 2021.