PHILADELPHIA -- It's still early, but it's a little less early every day. With Memorial Day -- one of baseball's traditional milestones -- rapidly approaching, the Rockies hit a milestone of their own on Tuesday night.
A convincing 8-2 victory -- the Rockies' 12th in the last 17 games -- made Colorado the first 30-game winner in the National League. It's the first time in franchise history that the Rockies have been the first NL team to 30 wins.
The win was the second in as many nights to begin the four-game set against the Phillies, ensuring Colorado will not lose a road series in its first eight tries -- this coming from a club that has posted a winning record on the road just once in its history. The Rockies are 18-7 away from Coors Field this season.
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"The focus of the group no matter where we are is in a really good place," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "There's conversations about doing it how we do it, playing our game no matter where it is, Denver, on the West Coast, in the Midwest, back east, doesn't matter. That's how we're going to do it."
Any hopes that Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin's last start was just a fluke -- a seven-run, 11-hit clunker in Texas -- were dampened Tuesday as he allowed 10 hits and eight more runs.
Early in May, Eflin was the lone bright spot in a woebegone Phillies rotation. He's floundered in his last two starts, allowing 15 earned runs in 10 innings after allowing 10 earned runs in his first five starts this season.
"It's frustrating. It happens. It's baseball," Eflin said. "There are going to be a lot of times in my career where I might give up a lot of hits and a lot of runs. But I'm really not worried about it right now. I'm going to continue to work hard, go out every fifth day and put up a line of winning baseball."
While Eflin has been trending downwards, Rockies starter German Marquez has elevated his game. The 22-year-old logged his third consecutive impressive outing with six innings of one-run ball in a winning effort. Over those last three starts, he's allowed just two runs in 19 innings.
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Marquez found himself in just one bases-loaded jam which he worked out of without much fanfare.
"When you win a game, the starting pitcher is going to be stressed at least one time during the game, even in a good game, he's going to be stressed," Black said. "The other team is going to mount a little bit of a rally and there's going to have to be outs to get and pitches to be made and German did that tonight."
Rockies rookie starting pitchers are 8-0 across Colorado's last 13 games, the longest such winning streak in team history.
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Lucky number four: Four straight Rockies' hits to start the fourth inning set the tone for Eflin's troublesome night. Shortly after, Charlie Blackmon launched his second homer of the night. Each of the four initial hits came on a different pitch from Eflin, who struggled to find any effective pitches in his arsenal.
Rally grounded: The Phillies had an opportunity to tie the game or take an early lead in the third inning. Odubel Herrera was at the plate with the bases loaded and one out with one run already home. However, Herrera hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Alexi Amarista, who turned it into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. The Rockies kept their lead and added five runs to it in the next inning.
"Those types of at-bats, what can you say?" Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "When you don't score runs, it's frustrating to watch the at-bats." More >
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Blackmon continues to punish the slow stuff. Eight of his 11 homers this season have come on breaking and offspeed pitches. His first home run Tuesday came on a curveball from Eflin, the second on a fastball. The two-homer night from Blackmon marked his third multi-homer at Citizens Bank Park, more than the entire Phillies roster combined.
Rockies: The Rockies can clinch their eighth straight road series win Wednesday at 5:05 p.m. MT behind Tyler Chatwood. The right-hander has allowed five earned runs in three of his last five starts.
Phillies: The Phillies continue their four-game series against the Rockies on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m ET. Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (5-1, 3.44 ERA) will be on the mound in search of his sixth win of the season.
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