Rox win duel in LA to take over first in NL West

May 22nd, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies had nary a baserunner for four innings Monday night. Their bucket of fruit candies went asunder as third baseman vented in the dugout after a strikeout. Yet, for the first time this season, Colorado is in first place in the National League West.

Pinch-hitter 's soft infield single past the pitcher's mound with two out in the eighth drove in the difference-making run in a 2-1 victory over the Dodgers, as the Rockies took a half-game lead over the D-backs.

"What do you think? We're not hitting good, but that's all over baseball -- teams are not hitting," said , whose leadoff homer in the fifth was the first of the Rockies' three hits on the night. "It's good when you are in first place, hitting like we're hitting."

It was the 11th time in the 26-year-old club's history it has won with so few hits, and it has never won with fewer. Gonzalez's hit -- after Tony Wolters walked, stole second and took third on catcher 's throwing error -- off was an example of what can happen when a hitter makes contact.

The Rockies are 3-2 on this road trip, and Gonzalez -- who took second on 's throwing error in a desperate attempt to prevent the single -- won two of them with hits. His 12th-inning, two-run single on Thursday night at San Francisco produced a 5-3 victory.

"He hit it in the right spot against a tough lefty with a big sinker," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "We know Alexander from facing him last year in Kansas City."

But the Rockies won as they have so often during a 26-22 start -- with pitching.

Righty (3-5) gave up just two hits in seven innings -- matching his fellow 23-year-old starter on Monday, the Dodgers' . erased a one-out walk in the eighth by forcing into a double-play grounder, and earned his 17th save in 19 opportunities, but not without drama.

Matt Kemp hit a two-out infield bouncer and reached as shortstop 's throw bounced past first baseman . However, catcher Wolters hustled to back up the throw, realized Kemp had taken a step toward second -- which meant he could be tagged out -- and flipped to Desmond to back pick Kemp and end the game.

Since Kemp's step toward second was clear, neither he nor manager Dave Roberts protested the call -- which was not reviewable. Davis said he'd never seen the catcher backing up first pay off so well, but that Wolters did it was no surprise.

"Tony is the most exciting catcher I've ever watched play baseball," Davis said.

Wolters' hustle provides thrilling end to Rox's win

Marquez struck out five against two walks, and the only run came when swatted Marquez's first pitch of the fourth over the right-field wall for his fifth homer of the season. But Marquez escaped a second-and-third, one-out jam in the fifth by striking out Buehler and forcing a fly ball from . By night's end, Marquez had lowered his road ERA to 2.06 in six starts.

"The key for me was my tempo and my aggressiveness today, and I was able to stay in the moment," Marquez said in Spanish, with first-base coach Tony Diaz translating.

The victory came despite another frustrating night for the Rockies' offense.

The starting lineup included sub-.200 batters in positions 6-8 -- Desmond, Wolters and -- all of whom went hitless. Arenado went nuts in the dugout after swinging through a 97 mph, 0-2 fastball from Buehler. He first slammed his bat until it splintered, then made sure there was no candy for anyone, spiking the bucket on the ground.

Wolters drew the one-out walk from (1-3) and ended up at third when Valaika swung through a pitch on a hit-and-run. Then the rally nearly fell apart. Baez nearly picked Wolters off third. Then Valaika struck out when he was fooled on a 2-2 Baez slider, but Gonzalez saved the night..

HE SAID IT

"I could've just stayed in my squat and saved my legs." -- Wolters, on hustling to back up first even though it's rarely needed

UP NEXT

Righty (4-1, 3.27 ERA), who has the fourth-lowest road ERA in the National League at 1.83, will meet the Dodgers at 8:10 p.m. MT Wednesday in the second game of the series. The Dodgers have yet to name a starting pitcher, but righty (0-0, 3.18) is a likely candidate.