WASHINGTON -- The Rockies' rough road fortunes and a Nationals lineup coming off an eight-homer performance was as big as Rockies rookie right-handed pitcher German Marquez let it be.And Marquez found it no big deal Saturday night, when he retired the first 16 hitters in order during seven standout innings
WASHINGTON -- The Rockies' rough road fortunes and a Nationals lineup coming off an eight-homer performance was as big as Rockies rookie right-handed pitcher German Marquez let it be.
And Marquez found it no big deal Saturday night, when he retired the first 16 hitters in order during seven standout innings in the Rockies' 4-2 victory at National Park.
The non-waiver Trade Deadline is approaching Monday, and the Rockies look bent on staying with a young rotation that features four rookies and a second-year man. If the Rockies -- who currently hold the second National League Wild Card -- are staying with youth, Marquez (9-4) figures he can be a leader. Saturday's 10 strikeouts were a career high, and he fanned nine in each of his previous two starts.
"Why not?" said Marquez, who pitched the Rockies to just the fourth win in their last 20 road games. "I just try to do my best. Every game for me I'm going to go out and battle. I don't want to magnify outings."
While fanning the first two and forcing a grounder in the first inning, Marquez felt he had a well-commanded fastball and sharpness to his curve and slider. His fledgling changeup -- a factor recently -- was also good.
"It did look like the fastball command was better, but I was really impressed by the breaking ball all night long -- you saw some funny swings," Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Marquez's start was perfect through 5 1/3, just the seventh in the Rockies' 25-season history to be perfect for at least five innings. Tyler Chatwood went five this year at San Francisco on May 2, and the record is six innings, by Chad Bettis at Philadelphia on May 29, 2015.
"Nothing against our hitters, it was just he was beating them tonight," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.
Matt Wieters singled in the sixth to end Marquez's perfection. Howie Kendrick then doubled with one out and Wilmer Difo drove both home on a two-out single. Marquez then faced Bryce Harper, but didn't let the hype surrounding the Nationals' star affect his plan of attack, blowing a 98.1-mph fastball by Harper's bat for an inning-ending strikeout.
"I know it's Bryce Harper," Marquez said. "But it's another hitter. I've got to hit my target and execute my pitches."
"His stuff was electric, like it was flying out of his hand," shortstop Trevor Story said. "But I saw that he was locating. Pretty much anywhere he wanted to throw it, he was hitting his spots."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**. Jamal Collier contributed.