LOS ANGELES -- Rockies right-hander German Marquez said he wasn't mad at the Dodgers' Enrique Hernandez for his sixth-inning home run. He just wanted to finish Saturday's outing strong.Whatever Marquez's emotion, his 99.9 mph eighth-inning fastball -- the hardest by any starter in the eighth inning or later in the
LOS ANGELES -- Rockies right-hander German Marquez said he wasn't mad at the Dodgers' Enrique Hernandez for his sixth-inning home run. He just wanted to finish Saturday's outing strong.
Whatever Marquez's emotion, his 99.9 mph eighth-inning fastball -- the hardest by any starter in the eighth inning or later in the Majors this season -- to complete the last of his season-high nine strikeouts sealed a dominant performance. In firing a career-high-tying eight innings, Marquez held the Dodgers to one run on two hits and no walks in the Rockies' third straight victory, a 3-1 final at Dodger Stadium.
"I was just really trying to strike him out in that situation and hit the target, which was up -- and I let it rip," Marquez said.
Marquez pitched eight scoreless innings last May 10 in a win over the Cubs at Coors Field. But he believed he was even better Saturday -- when he didn't yield a baserunner until Hernandez's homer. Marquez hit 97.8 mph in the sixth, 99.2 on a strikeout of Matt Kemp in the seventh and set the 2018 starter velocity standard in the eighth.
The screamer to Hernandez was the fastest of Marquez's career, and it beat the 99.8 by the Yankees' Luis Severino in the eighth against the Astros' George Springer on May 2.
"I work hard between starts, and my goal is to maintain my stamina throughout the game, deep in games," said Marquez, 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three starts at Dodger Stadium. "Today I was able to accomplish that."
Marquez received help from Ian Desmond's 17th homer of the season and career-best 13th on the road -- one of three runs (two earned) in seven innings against Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda (5-5). Chris Iannetta's RBI single with one out and two on in the seventh saved manager Bud Black from having to lift Marquez for a pinch-hitter.
The Rockies went for another run in the seventh with a safety squeeze, but Marquez left the bunt close enough to the plate that Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal was able to corral the ball and dive to the plate to tag Gerardo Parra.
Black made the move in the ninth, as Adam Ottavino earned his second save. Player Page for Max Muncy singled with two out, but Ottavino -- pitching after Wade Davis earned a save Friday but gave up a ninth-inning homer to Justin Turner -- worked a pinch-hitting Turner into a fly to left.
Black noted that Marquez's fastball location wasn't necessarily keen early, and he gave up some long fly balls. But he had an excellent curve and slider, his changeup was effective, and once the fastball truly kicked in it was a solid four-pitch mix.
"He's capable because we've seen moments and innings and certain stretches of games where he's pitched like that through three, four, five innings," Black said. "But to do it eight innings on the road against a good team, it's not surprising, but it's a big step for a young pitcher."
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn't enjoy seeing Marquez for so long. Maeda fanned nine in his seven frames of work.
"We knew he had a good arm, but I didn't know he had a hundred in there," said Roberts. "He outpitched our guy, who I thought pitched pretty well."
The Rockies improved to 3-2 on a National League West road trip that ends with Sunday afternoon's finale with the Dodgers. And they hope the work of their starters this time through the rotation -- minus erstwhile No. 1 righty Jon Gray, who was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday -- is the start of much-needed roll.
Chad Bettis, whose next turn is Sunday, Kyle Freeland, Tyler Anderson and Marquez have combined to yield just three earned runs and 16 hits in 25 innings -- with 25 strikeouts against six walks. If pitching deep and effectively is the real key to a strong run that could pull the Rockies (41-42) into playoff contention, the quartet has at least set a blueprint. Anderson also set a career best with eight innings in Friday night's 3-1 victory.
"I know that one road trip early in the year, we had some starting-pitcher momentum," Black said. "Let's hope that's the case."
Desmond, whose homer led off the fifth, noted that strong starting pitching was a key to the Rockies leading the NL West through June 6, and he likes seeing it return.
"Baseball is like hockey -- it's line changes," Desmond said. "At one point it's going to be the pitching, at one point it's going to be the defense picking you up one time. At one point it's going to be the offense. The last couple days, the pitchers have been throwing the ball really well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Maeda was also spotless until DJ LeMahieu's double over the third-base line to open the fourth. LeMahieu scored from third when Maeda fanned Nolan Arenado, but Grandal let the ball bounce off the heel of his glove for a passed ball that also let Arenado reach.
It was Black's 61st birthday. His teams are 7-2 on his birthday.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Ottavino was pitching because Black said Davis was unavailable. Turner is known for his ability to lift the ball. The count was full when Ottavino challenged Turner with a slider and was able to celebrate when Turner was slightly early with the swing.
"He [Marquez] pitched great, he deserved to win," Ottavino said. "That's two nights in a row, eight innings out of our starter."
HE SAID IT
"The humbler will get you if you start to become prideful. I'm just trying to help the team win." -- Desmond, on his penchant for big hits this season
Bettis (5-1, 5.07 ERA) will start against the Dodgers and righty Thomas Stripling (6-2, 1.98) in the finale of the series at Dodger Stadium on Sunday at 2:10 p.m. MT. Bettis is like many Rockies pitchers -- far better on the road (5-1, 2.72 in nine starts) than at home (0-0, 8.75 in seven starts).
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.