DENVER -- Can't fault Rockies right-hander German Marquez's idea Friday night: Attack the strike zone for quick decisions, with hopes of preserving his pitch count, and logging innings to save a struggling bullpen.But the execution went south in a hurry in the third inning, when he gave up home runs
DENVER -- Can't fault Rockies right-hander German Marquez's idea Friday night: Attack the strike zone for quick decisions, with hopes of preserving his pitch count, and logging innings to save a struggling bullpen.
But the execution went south in a hurry in the third inning, when he gave up home runs to Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb and David Peralta, as the Rockies dropped a 9-4 loss to the D-backs at Coors Field.
The loss in the opener of a three-game series dropped the Rockies to 1 1/2 games behind the National League West-leading D-backs -- who saw Goldschmidt homer again in the ninth, off Brooks Pounders. The Rockies, who dropped to 32-31 and haven't been .500 since they were 15-15 on April 30, have lost five straight at Coors. They've given up double-digit hits at home (12 on Friday) in 10 straight, a franchise record.
Marquez (4-6) threw just 69 pitches over four innings, but they were packed with trouble -- five runs, with half the six hits becoming souvenirs.
"Probably a little bit -- I tried to overdo it, tried to be too perfect, and they got me," said Marquez, the first Rockies pitcher to surrender three homers in an inning since Scott Oberg on April 19, 2015, against the Dodgers, and the first to do it at home since Wilton Lopez against the White Sox on April 8, 2014.
The Rockies managed two fifth-inning homers -- Charlie Blackmon's team-leading 13th homer, but his first in 80 at-bats, and Trevor Story's two-run shot -- and four runs in 5 2/3 innings against the D-backs' Zack Greinke (5-4).
Colorado stayed reasonably close until struggling reliever Chris Rusin (7.86 ERA, after a 2.65 in 60 appearances last year) gave up two runs in the eighth.
The Rockies finished with 10 hits and have reached double figures in 12 of their last 14 games. Still, Story wants more.
"I think we were better as an offense than what we were playing like," Story said. "We have a lot of good players. A lot of All-Stars. We feel like we can do better, and we still don't have it quite figured out yet, but it's been better. Something to build on."
The Rockies had won two of three at Cincinnati, but the games were rough on a struggling bullpen. The 7-5 loss on Thursday went 13 innings and caused them to use five relievers over six innings. Marquez had struggled at home but was coming off two decent home outings -- a win over the Reds and a no-decision against the Dodgers. But he finished the night with a 7.71 Coors ERA.
After the D-backs went up, 1-0, when Goldschmidt doubled and Daniel Descalso singled him home in the first, Marquez seemed to be in better shape after an 11-pitch second.
However, Marquez walked Jonathan Jay with the count full to open the third, and four pitches later, he was down 4-1. Goldschmidt's ninth homer of the season, for two runs, and Lamb's third homer both came on 0-1 pitches. Marquez fanned Descalso on four pitches, then watched Peralta knock his 11th homer of the year on a 2-2 pitch.
"The pitches were up," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "You look at the inning he gave up three homers -- the changeup to Goldschmidt was up over the plate, the curveball to Lamb didn't get down below the knees where it was intended, and the slider to Peralta was mid-thigh.
"Those are pitches that hitters can elevate. If they square them up, they're going to go out of the park."
Blackmon's one-out homer in the fifth was just his second at Coors in a season that is much like that of his club -- 21-14 road record, 11-17 at home. But Blackmon is heating up overall, with hits in 14 of his last 15 contests. Carlos Gonzalez's two-out bloop single set up Story's 12th homer of the season, to dead-center. Greinke escaped when Ian Desmond flied to the right-field warning track with a man on base.
Lefty Harrison Musgrave gave up two hits in two innings, but one hurt. Greinke singled up the middle on Musgrave's first pitch, after the Rockies intentionally walked Jeff Mathis with two out in the sixth.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
DJ LeMahieu singled with two down in the sixth to chase Greinke, and D-backs manager Torey Lovullo went to Andrew Chafin to face Blackmon with his team leading, 6-4. Turns out, Chafin chose an alternative -- he picked LeMahieu off first to end the inning.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Gerardo Parra almost flew.
Standing in left field in the top of the second inning, Parra covered 80 feet to snatch Ketel Marte's fly ball to shallow left. Parra covered 29.9 feet per second, sprinting significantly faster than his average 26.8 feet per second.
The ball had a 31 percent probability of being caught -- but it needed to be caught. Marquez had just given up the three homers, and Parra's catch prevented another hit.
Right-hander Chad Bettis (4-1, 4.02 ERA) will face D-backs right-hander Matt Koch (4-3, 3.76 ERA) in Saturday's 5:15 p.m. MT game. In his past couple of starts, Bettis hasn't spotted his fastball as well as he did during his run of success at the beginning of the season, so he'll try to get that back against Arizona.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.