Márquez outduels Yu, takes him deep for W

'I still can't believe it,' Rockies righty says of 2nd career HR

August 1st, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- In his last two outings, hadn’t had the All-Star-caliber outings that earned him a spot in the Midsummer Classic.

Márquez gave up eight runs combined over 12 1/3 innings in his first two starts coming out of the All-Star break. But on the same mound where the righty ended his stellar first half of the season, he delivered a bounce-back outing and helped himself out at the plate during Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Padres at Petco Park.

Facing fellow All-Star hurler Yu Darvish, Márquez sent a slider 418 feet to center field in the fifth inning, marking his second career home run and the first home run by a Rockies pitcher since 2018 (which also came from Márquez). It also made Márquez the ninth Rockies pitcher in franchise history to hit multiple home runs over their respective careers.

"Darvish is a good pitcher,” Márquez said in Spanish. “One of the best. Hitting a homer against him is amazing to me. I still can't believe it.”

On the mound, Márquez limited the Padres to just two runs over six innings, despite walking four batters. The only runs Márquez surrendered came via a two-run homer by Jake Cronenworth in the third inning.

Following Cronenworth’s homer, Márquez retired seven of the next eight batters and collected four of his seven strikeouts in that span.

In his final inning before getting pinch-hit for in the top of the seventh, he had to work himself out of a jam when he walked Trent Grisham on four pitches to load the bases. Following a mound visit from Rockies manager Bud Black, Márquez struck out Jurickson Profar looking on three straight sliders to leave the bases loaded and hold the Rockies’ lead.

“I felt really good,” Márquez said. “Working with men on base isn’t easy. ... Getting out of that inning was big. It was big for me and it was big for the whole team.”

Black, who noted that he used the mound visit to talk about strategy and mechanics and to remind Márquez to exhale, came away pleased with how Márquez capped off his outing.

In what has been the strongest season yet for the 26-year-old, Márquez’s ability to leave the bases loaded showed Black a step in the right direction.

“That says a lot, right,” Black said of Márquez’s final inning of work. “I think we've seen that happen before our eyes over the last couple years. ... I think from a coaching perspective, from what we know about Germán, his talent, his experience now that we trust him, is it going to happen all the time? No. But we think it's going to happen a great majority of the time."

Although he had a quality outing, Márquez had trouble finding command. He threw 102 pitches and just 61 went for strikes. His four walks were the second most he has issued in an outing this season. Márquez also threw first-pitch strikes to just 12 of his 25 batters faced.

Black said one of the improvements he would like to see from Márquez is getting ahead of batters early in counts.

“I thought he threw the ball well, I thought he was overall pretty crisp,” Black said. “If you can pick apart one thing, I didn't really like the first-pitch strike ratio. Seemed like he was behind 1-and-0 a lot tonight. The early-count strikes really weren't prevalent, but I thought he had a good breaking ball. I thought he threw some good fastballs, too."