Mark Tenally/Associated Press
What does it take to shut down the top NL offense at home? Apparently an excellent fastball and a dominant curveball, at least when it comes from the hand of German Marquez. After the sweep in St. Louis, this is the exact kind of game the Rockies needed to rebound, and it gives them momentum going into the double header on Sunday.
Tanner Roark had been very good for the Nationals since the break, and he was by no means bad on Saturday, but the Rockies got to him enough to get him out of the game in five innings while also scoring some runs off of him. Roark did strike out eight in the short time he was out there, accounting for over half of his outs, but he also allowed a homer and some rallying in the fifth.
The first of the four Rockies’ runs came in the second inning. After a walk to Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story took a two strike pitch to the opposite field that got out for a home run to give the Rockies an early lead.
They would give Marquez and the bullpen some insurance in the fifth, which also started with a walk. With two outs and DJ LeMahieu on first, Gerardo Parra did what he has done all year long and drove him in with an opposite field double. It was Parra’s 44th RBI which is notable for the time he has missed on the DL. Reynolds then drove in Parra on a ball to right field to give the Rockies a 4-0 lead.
Marquez finally ran into trouble in the sixth allowing three hits and two runs, but ultimately kept the Nationals from rallying anymore by striking out the side. Marquez would go one more inning finishing with a career high 10 strikeouts and zero walks. He took a perfect game into the sixth inning and really gave the Rockies a much needed boost.
The newcomer Pat Neshek came on in the eighth and worked a flawless inning before handing the ball to Holland who did the same for his league leading 32nd save. The Rockies may still make a move for another bullpen arm, but the addition of Neshek is an obvious boost and really helps the bullpen out, especially in games where the starter goes deep and he can be used effectively.
The Rockies will now try to at least split the double header to take a series win, but perhaps an early win will give them the momentum for the sweep. They do get the benefit of not having to face any of the Nationals top arms, but the Rockies have seen struggles against rookies, though those did come in the middle of an offensive slump.