DENVER -- Rockies right-hander German Marquez seems to have lost the key to pitching at Coors Field.Marquez gave up five runs -- one on a Lorenzo Cain home run on his first pitch -- on 12 hits in just 4 2/3 innings of a 5-2 loss to the Brewers on
DENVER -- Rockies right-hander German Marquez seems to have lost the key to pitching at Coors Field.
Marquez gave up five runs -- one on a Lorenzo Cain home run on his first pitch -- on 12 hits in just 4 2/3 innings of a 5-2 loss to the Brewers on Thursday night.
Marquez has a 10.34 ERA over 15 2/3 frames at home and a 1.96 ERA in 23 road innings. He attempted to stay effectively wild when he kept the Rockies' deficit at 2-1 after four innings, but Travis Shaw singled, Jesus Aguilar doubled and Hernan Perez singled them both in to begin a three-run fifth inning that chased Marquez.
"My delivery was not consistent, and therefore my pitches were very inconsistent," Marquez said. "It was just one of those days that I never found myself.
"I don't think there's anything as far as pitching here. It was just inconsistent tonight."
Turned out it was a bad night to start Cain off with a pitch in the middle of the strike zone.
"I rarely ever swing at the first pitch," Cain said. "I was in here getting dressed and it was, like, 6:30. I yelled out to [Brewers reliever Josh] Hader, 'Hey Hader, I'm swinging at the first pitch today.' Yeah, I announced it."
Marquez also had his second scary incident at home this season -- a third-inning pitch that hit Aguilar in the left shoulder. In his last home start on April 22, he hit the Cubs' Kristopher Bryant in the helmet, and on April 14, his plunking of the Padres' Hunter Renfroe was part of the build to a bench-emptying scuffle. He has not hit a batter away from home, and after he hit Aguilar, Rockies manager Bud Black called for the grounds crew to manicure his landing spot on the mound.
"He's a fastball pitcher with secondaries that come into play," Black said. "But it seems like he couldn't really locate the heater, and as the game wore on, just a little inconsistent with the breaking ball -- the curve and the slider. A little uncomfortable the whole night, from the get-go."
The combination of Marquez's struggles and an offense that has languished all season led to the Rockies' second straight home loss, after a six-game win streak achieved all on the road. Colorado's 21-17 record has not been helped by a 6-9 home start.
The Rockies got a solo homer from Trevor Story in the second inning, and Ian Desmond delivered a fifth-inning leadoff triple that he scored on when Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia's throw to third sailed out of play.
One-time Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin made it through 5 1/3 innings after allowing four hits and two walks while striking out five. In the sixth, Nolan Arenado drew a walk against Chacin, David Dahl singled off left-handed reliever Boone Logan and Story drew a walk from right-hander Matt Albers to load the bases, but Gerardo Parra bounced to Shaw at third to start a home-to-first double play.
Leadoff man DJ LeMahieu singled and doubled, and the Brewers walked Charlie Blackmon once and Arenado twice. It follows a recent pitching pattern of opponents avoiding the productive top of the lineup and feasting on the struggling rest of the Rockies.
"There are going to be a lot of opportunities for the rest of the guys to come up with runners on, and we need to come through," Story said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Need a better ending: Black complimented Parra's approach on the key grounder that ended the sixth.
"Gerardo had the right approach. … Gerardo went with the pitch, just hit a hard ground ball right to the third baseman," Black said. "We hit a couple balls right on the nose and had nothing to show for it. Charlie [Blackmon] in the first inning hit a bullet right at Aguilar for the double play. German hit a bullet to short, Arcia made a nice play.
"We need a big hit with runners in scoring position. It hasn't come lately, but it'll come."
The ever-positive Parra shook it off.
"I don't want to think too much, just play baseball how we play," Parra said. "We've got a good record. It's positive right now and the team's not hitting. So what do you think when the team starts hitting hard?"
One advantage of playing at home in a hitter-friendly park is the propensity to erase deficits. However, the Rockies have not won a game this season when they trailed by more than two runs.
A bullpen that has often struggled when the Rockies have been behind didn't give up a hit and walked just two after Marquez exited. Mike Dunn (one batter), Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee (an inning apiece) were solid after struggling recently. Rookie Harrison Musgrave, making his first appearance in eight days, coaxed four fly balls while working two innings, throwing mostly offspeed pitches.
"You throw off the mound every few days to make sure you don't lose it, but it's better for us if [the starters] go longer," Musgrave said. "They're doing their jobs. It's good if I don't have to pitch."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Back when Marquez was merely teetering but keeping the Rockies close, some of his fancy footwork and alert eyes from Desmond led to an unusual 1-3-5 double play to end the fourth.
Marquez blocked Ryan Braun's hard grounder with his glove -- after scooting his feet out of the way out of self-preservation -- then threw Braun out at first. Desmond realized that Christian Yelich was trying to go first to third, and fired to Arenado for the tag. The Rockies trailed, 2-1, at that point.
• Rockies turn unusual 1-3-5 double play
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
One of the Brewers' 12 hits nearly came off the board in the fourth inning, when Yelich legged out an infield single. The Rockies challenged, and Coors Field fans sounded as if they believed the call would be overturned. But it stood, and Yelich had his lone hit of the night.
Right-hander Chad Bettis (4-1, 2.05 ERA) gets the second of four games against the Brewers at 6:40 p.m. MT and will hope to pitch at Coors Field the way he has in the past. This season, Bettis doesn't have a decision and has a 4.22 ERA at home. But in his career, he is 13-7 and the Rockies are 24-11 in his home starts. The Brewers will start right-hander Brandon Woodruff.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.