Marquez nearly unhittable in masterpiece

Rigthy fans nine, Arenado hits first homer to help Colorado blank SF

April 15th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- The first complete game in the big leagues this season was very close to being much more. As it was, Colorado’s settled for one-hit, nine-strikeout domination of San Francisco as the Rockies ended an eight-game losing streak with a 4-0 win over the Giants on Sunday afternoon.

The no-hit effort came to an end one out into the eighth inning when Marquez’s 0-2 slider wasn’t quite low enough and was slapped by Evan Longoria past third baseman for a single. Longoria was the second and last Giant to reach base. Marquez hit Kevin Pillar with a pitch to open the sixth after having retired the first 15 men he faced.

“I wanted [the no-hitter] for him so bad,” Rockies catcher Tony Wolters said. “At some point, he’s going to do a no-hitter, a perfect game. He’s got the stuff. He’s such a competitor, and he’s so selfless. After the hit, all he wanted to do was to get us the win.”

Marquez was able to shrug off Longoria's single, although he wasn’t happy with the quality of the 0-2 pitch.

“The no-hitter’s over,” Marquez said through a translator of the Longoria hit. “It happens. But I was just worried about competing and throwing up some more zeros.”

Longoria was happy to have broken up the no-hitter, but as a whole, the day was tough on San Francisco's entire lineup.

“Sometimes it feels kind of like survival mode,” Longoria said. “[Marquez] was in a pretty good rhythm and making pitches the whole game, so it’s tough. When you get into that kind of rhythm, it’s tough on a hitter.”

Marquez actually took the Longoria hit better than Arenado. The third baseman said he was in dive-for-everything mode, but this dive came up a couple of inches short as the ball skittered into left field. Arenado took his glove off and slammed it on the ground.

“That was a frustration reaction,” Arenado said. “I wanted him to get it so bad. This year has been tough, but today he did an unbelievable job.”

Marquez is now the owner of the only complete-game one-hit shutout in Rockies history. There has only been one no-hitter for Colorado, thrown almost nine years ago to the day by Ubaldo Jimenez in Atlanta. Sunday’s game from Marquez qualifies as one of the best starts in Rockies history.

“When I looked up in the sixth and they didn’t have any hits, it was then that I knew I had all my pitches,” Marquez said. “In the dugout, everyone was excited. The two pitches I felt best about were the command of my fastball and of my curve. I always go out there with my heart on my sleeve and I go out there competing. Today I felt great, and the team needed this one.”

Manager Bud Black said Sunday was about as crisp as he’s seen Marquez, while at the same time saying he wasn’t surprised to see this level of excellence from the 24-year-old Venezuelan.

“He had great life to his fastball, and both of his breaking balls were outstanding,” Black said. “After about the sixth inning, I thought, and I think most of us thought, that he had a pretty good chance to do it.”

Center fielder Ian Desmond and right fielder Charlie Blackmon made outstanding diving catches in the middle innings, and the Giants’ next best chance for a hit came when Brandon Crawford hit a sharp grounder toward Arenado at third in the eighth. 

“I was going to keep that in front of me, no matter what,” Arenado said. “I do that, then it’s an error and not a hit [if Crawford reaches first].”

The ball popped in the air, Arenado grabbed it and made the throw to first for the out.

It wasn’t Arenado’s first contribution of the day. In the first and third, he drew two-out walks, coming around to score Colorado’s first run on Tyler Story’s double following the second walk. And in the fifth, Arenado jumped on San Francisco starter Derek Holland’s second pitch for a three-run home run, his first of the season.

“It was supposed to be a sinker away,” Holland said. “Obviously, it was down the middle. He’s hands down one of the best hitters of the game. I put that right there on a platter for him.”