Rox take West lead as Marquez ties MLB mark
Right-hander fans 8 in a row to open game, sets club's single-season K record
DENVER -- Right-hander German Marquez put his name in the MLB and Rockies record books, but more importantly, he put Colorado atop the National League West on Wednesday night at Coors Field.
Marquez tied a modern Major League record (since 1900) by fanning the first eight Phillies he faced, broke the club's single-season strikeout record and matched the team's consecutive strikeout mark in the surging Rockies' 14-0 win, their sixth straight victory.
"I think I really executed my plan -- the same mindset of just attacking the hitters, executing my pitches," Marquez said through an interpreter. "A lot of times, it doesn't work perfectly. But tonight it was close."
The Rockies -- with home runs from David Dahl, Trevor Story and Ian Desmond during a seven-run fifth inning -- moved a half-game ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West. Los Angeles lost its second straight at Arizona, 7-2. Colorado has a magic number of three to clinch a playoff spot and four to win the NL West.
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With the Dodgers idle Thursday before heading to San Francisco this weekend, the Rockies have a chance to extend their lead to one game, if they can complete the four-game sweep of the Phillies. Colorado finishes its season with three games at home vs. the Nationals.
Marquez, who fanned 11 in seven innings, matched the Astros' Jim Deshaies (Sept. 23, 1986) and the Mets' Jacob deGrom (Sept. 15, 2014) with eight straight strikeouts to begin a game. Before the modern era, Mickey Welch of the New York Gothams started a game with nine consecutive strikeouts on Aug. 28, 1884.
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Marquez's streak ended with two outs in the third, when Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta tapped a ball in play and Marquez committed a throwing error to first. To that point, 27 of Marquez's 31 pitches were strikes.
Marquez then walked Cesar Hernandez, but followed with his ninth strikeout, fanning Carlos Santana to end the third.
Marquez, who held the Phillies to three hits over seven innings, finished with 11 strikeouts to raise his season total to 221, which surpassed Ubaldo Jimenez's club record of 214, set in 2010. Additionally, Marquez matched Justin Miller's club record for consecutive batters struck out. Miller, a reliever, did it over three games from Sept. 7-11, 2015.
Marquez, 23, entered the night tied with Pedro Astacio for second on the Rockies' single-season strikeout leaders at 210.
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"I knew I was five strikeouts away from the franchise record, but I wasn't really trying to strike people out," Marquez said. "I was executing my plan, which was attacking and putting hitters away, and they happened to be punchouts."
In the first, Marquez needed only 11 pitches to fan Hernandez, Santana and Odubel Herrera. Each time, he used his fastball until the final pitch, when the hitter then swung over a curveball.
Then, Marquez deviated from the pattern by throwing three breaking balls, the last a curveball that caught Rhys Hoskins looking to begin the second. Still mixing, he struck out Roman Quinn on four pitches, the last a curve in the dirt to break the club's single-season record. For good measure, he fanned Dylan Cozens in five pitches.
Marquez continued his run in the third with two three-pitch strikeouts. He finished off Scott Kingery on a fastball and Andrew Knapp on a curve.
Rockies manager Bud Black, a former longtime Major League pitcher, knew he was witnessing a special performance.
"Over my career as a pitcher, I've charted a lot of games," Black said. "As a Minor League player, when you're the next day's starter, you chart games. And even now, I keep score of our games. And I hadn't seen that."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Rockies' offense breaks out: Carlos Gonzalez's two RBIs -- on a second-inning sacrifice fly and an infield single in the fourth -- gave the Rockies an early lead. But Dahl gave them breathing room.
Dahl had a two-run homer in Monday's win and a three-run shot in Tuesday's victory. Both were opposite-way shots to left that didn't seem gone until they landed. Wednesday's three-run shot in the fifth safely cleared the lower part of the wall in center and went into the pond area where the home-run fountains are fired.
Dahl's homers did have one commonality -- all came with two strikes. Wednesday's, off Pivetta, was on an 0-2 count.
The homers from Story and Desmond later in the fifth came off reliever Victor Arano.
After an eight-game home losing streak, the Rockies have gone 33-19 at Coors Field since June 19.
HE SAID IT
"We've been in first place before, but obviously it sounds nice any time you're in first place. But we've still got four more, so we've just got to keep our heads in the same spot. Stay focused, continue to play good baseball day in and day out. Anything can happen in four days, but we're right around where we want to be, especially at home." -- Gonzalez, on the Rockies taking the NL West lead
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Phillies' Quinn took off from first on Cozens' two-out, hit-and-run single to right in the fourth, and he wasn't going to stop.
Gonzalez fielded Cozens' hit and threw to Story covering second. To Gonzalez's credit, the throw was firm and accurate.
Then, Story spun and fired an 89.9-mph strike, per Statcast™, to the plate on one hop, and Tony Wolters made the catch and tag.
The Phils challenged that Wolters blocked the plate illegally, but replay confirmed that Wolters did not commit a violation.
Story wore ice on his elbow, a normal treatment considering his recent injury, but he said he was fine.
"I anticipated it, because I know he's really fast," Story said. "The ball was in the gap. 'CarGo' did a great job of getting it to me, and all I had to do was get it to Tony."
Right-hander Antonio Senzatela (6-6, 4.52 ERA) is coming off pitching a season-high-tying seven innings in his last start, when he held the D-backs to one run on three hits in a road win on Saturday. Senzatela, who will face the Phillies and righty Jacob Arrieta (10-10, 3.94) in the series finale on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. MT, is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and nine strikeouts over his last two starts.