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Rox battle back, but can't finish comeback bid

Righty Marquez's struggles put team in early hole
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- A 96.3-mph fastball got away from Rockies right-hander German Marquez and hit Cubs star Kris Bryant in the helmet Sunday afternoon, and Marquez couldn't regain his handle thereafter.

After the hit batsman that sent Bryant to the clubhouse with a laceration above his left eye -- but no signs of a concussion -- the Cubs bested Marquez for three first-inning runs and six over 3 1/3 frames in their 9-7 victory at Coors Field.

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DENVER -- A 96.3-mph fastball got away from Rockies right-hander German Marquez and hit Cubs star Kris Bryant in the helmet Sunday afternoon, and Marquez couldn't regain his handle thereafter.

After the hit batsman that sent Bryant to the clubhouse with a laceration above his left eye -- but no signs of a concussion -- the Cubs bested Marquez for three first-inning runs and six over 3 1/3 frames in their 9-7 victory at Coors Field.

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"I was just trying to pitch in, and that one got away," Marquez said. "I'm glad he's doing fine. But I was just trying to continue to pitch and give the team a chance to win."

Video: CHC@COL: Bryant hit in the helmet, leaves the game

As much as the hit batsman may have bothered Marquez (1-2), who was coming off a standout performance in Pittsburgh in his last start, the Rockies battled back from 6-0 to threaten the Cubs' lead. A game that turned wild with unusual plays ended with a replay reversal that showed Cubs closer Brandon Morrow tagged out Nolan Arenado at the plate after his pitch had squirted away from catcher Willson Contreras with the bases loaded.

Arenado said he thought his foot beat the tag.

"It was still kind of close on review. It was hard to tell. But I was out."

Video: CHC@COL: Morrow tags out Arenado at home for the save

It was a strange end to a series played in less than ideal baseball weather with its share of craziness.

"That's not the way you want to lose," Arenado said in Spanish, with first-base coach Tony Diaz translating. "I felt like a lot of things were going their way at times. Sometimes it went our way.

In the end, the Rockies were unable to overcome the early deficit that resulted from Marquez's issues with lefties.

Cubs left-handed hitters in the 4-through-8 positions in the lineup went 7-for-9 against Marquez. Not all balls were hit hard, and all the hits were singles, but for the season, lefties are hitting .472 (17-for-36) against Marquez. Last year, lefties batted .279 against him, while righties hit .270.

"I think I'm just throwing too many fastballs to them," Marquez said. "I need to start mixing it up, like I do to righties, and hopefully the results will come my way."

Manager Bud Black said, "I don't think there's anything he's doing different. Let's just see how it plays out as the season progresses. If anything, with most pitchers, it's about commanding the fastball and getting the breaking ball down."

Tommy La Stella, Kyle Schwarber and Victor Caratini had RBIs from the left side of the plate in the first inning, and Jason Heyward -- in a moment of glee on a day that saw the right fielder lose a Trevor Story fly ball in the sun in the third, resulting in a two-run triple, and an Ian Desmond deep fly in the fourth, which bounced off the wall for a double -- delivered a two-run single in the third. Javier Baez had the only righty hit off Marquez, but it was a solo homer with two outs in the second.

Video: CHC@COL: Story triples in two with help from the sun

"German's got great stuff, and he's young and a thrower turning into a pitcher, in my opinion," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "He's got a big arm with plus stuff, and he has really good command for where he's at in his career, and I think that's going to keep getting better."

The Rockies got consecutive home runs by Charlie Blackmon and Arenado in the fifth to cut the deficit to two runs. But the Cubs added three runs in the seventh inning, highlighted by Baez's two-run double and relief pitcher Steve Cishek's first Major League hit, a bunt on a play the Rockies left first base uncovered.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Rockies scored a run on Ryan McMahon's fielder's-choice grounder, and David Dahl, in his 2018 debut, singled hard off pitcher Carl Edwards Jr.'s lower right leg to score a run, and another run scored on an error on the play. However, the bullpen held on, with Morrow earning his fourth save despite allowing two hits and a walk in the ninth.

Video: CHC@COL: Dahl single, Edwards error plate two for Rox

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Too much Almora: In each of the first two innings, the Rockies had a runner at second base, and each time the rallies disappeared into the glove of diving Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. With one out in the second, Almora robbed Arenado, and he did the same to Noel Cuevas -- who was making his first Major League plate appearance -- to end the second. In the ninth, Almora crashed into the wall after snaring Blackmon's leadoff drive against Morrow.

Video: Must C Catch: Almora makes three sensational catches

"Their center fielder probably made two of the greatest plays I've seen in my career," Black said. "Those were hard-hit balls, Cuevas' ball, Nolan's ball, and even Charlie's ball at the end."

Who's on first?
The Cubs were up, 7-4, and had two on and one out in the seventh when Cishek -- batting because the Cubs had exhausted all their bench options except backup catcher Contreras -- went up to bunt. He got the bunt down with two strikes and Arenado charging from third and Desmond from first. But when Arenado picked up the ball and went to throw to first, he had nobody to throw to -- third was covered by Story, second by DJ LeMahieu -- and the bases were loaded. The three-run inning added some needed insurance for the Cubs.

Video: CHC@COL: Cishek bunts for his first Major League hit

"In that situation, 'Desi' will probably tell you that he needed to get back to first base," Black said.

HE SAID IT
"I thought we battled all day long. We kept coming back. It was a wild one." -- Black, on the near comeback

UP NEXT
When they last met on April 11, the Rockies and Padres got into a brawl. When they meet again Monday at Coors Field to begin a three-game series, Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra will be out, serving a suspension that stemmed from the fight. The Rockies will start righty Chad Bettis (3-0, 1.44 ERA), who held the Padres to two runs and five hits in five innings while beating them April 4 at Petco Park. The Padres will start righty Bryan Mitchell (0-2, 5.03).

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

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