DENVER -- The Rockies' offense released some pent-up frustration Tuesday night when it came alive late to defeat the Tigers, 7-3, at Coors Field.Over their previous 20 games entering Tuesday's tilt, the Rockies had hit .200 with runners in scoring position, but Carlos Gonzalez, out of the starting lineup for
DENVER -- The Rockies' offense released some pent-up frustration Tuesday night when it came alive late to defeat the Tigers, 7-3, at Coors Field.
Over their previous 20 games entering Tuesday's tilt, the Rockies had hit .200 with runners in scoring position, but Carlos Gonzalez, out of the starting lineup for the second straight day with a sore ankle, broke a tie in the seventh with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly. Three batters later, Nolan Arenado crushed his 30th home run of the season.
• Lucroy, Cargo come up big in seventh
Gonzalez and teammate Jonathan Lucroy -- who had a leadoff single in the seventh -- had critical at-bats in the inning.
"I got ahead with a first-pitch breaking ball, like I did the previous night," Tigers reliever Warwick Saupold said of the Arenado at-bat. "I thought the fastball was going to be in and didn't get it in far enough. He made me pay."
• Arenado gets revenge on Saupold
The Rockies moved four games ahead of the Brewers for the second Wild Card spot and remained two games back of the D-backs for the top Wild Card spot.
• NL Wild Card standings
The homer for Arenado, his 30th of the season, was sweet revenge of sorts. He struck out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning of Monday's loss against Saupold and spiked his bat in the ninth after a hard lineout.
But he said his knockout punch against Saupold felt great.
"Yesterday, I felt like I let the team down, especially with the bases loaded when I struck out. So to be able to come up and help them out today, it was good," Arenado said. "I feel like I've been pretty consistent with runners in scoring position, and for some reason I had a little bad stretch. That's baseball."
Tigers starter Michael Fulmer struggled early but cruised through the middle innings until that fateful seventh. The right-hander remained in to face the lefty Gonzalez despite left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf warming up in the bullpen. Fulmer was charged with five runs in 6 1/3 innings.
"It was just a bad pitch," Fulmer said of the changeup to Gonzalez. " If I bounce it, I think he swings and misses at it. That was my intention, to bounce it, and it just kind of cut on it. Left it inside, when I tried to go down away. The pitch selection was good. The command was not."
Rockies rookie German Marquez tied his career high with 10 strikeouts. He retired 11 straight batters at one point.
"What a game," Rockies manager Bud Black said of Marquez. "I thought his breaking ball was great, [Lucroy] and him work great together with the breaking ball down below the zone. With two strikes, it was effective."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mah-Gone:Michael Mahtook mashed Marquez's momentum in the top of the seventh, cranking a game-tying two-run homer. Mahtook's 10th long ball of the year followed a baserunning mistake from Nicholas Castellanos, who tried to advance from second to third on a ground ball to the shortstop. Marquez exited after John Hicks, the next batter, dribbled an infield single.
"It was a nice job getting back into it with the Mahtook home run to tie it," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "We just couldn't hold it. This ballpark can be tough for any pitcher. In the end, they were able to outslug us."
NL Advantage: Fulmer, not accustomed to hitting, came to bat with one out in the bottom of the fifth after consecutive doubles and a walk. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus tasked Fulmer with trying to get down a sacrifice bunt. But with Arenado playing back, Fulmer accidentally bunted it right to first baseman Mark Reynolds. Reynolds quickly threw to Arenado, who fired to first for the rare 3-5-4 double play. It was the last chance the Tigers would see against Marquez before Mahtook's seventh-inning homer.
"It was well played by us," Black said. "Mark charged hard, got it cleanly and threw a strike to Nolan. Nolan showed his arm strength back to DJ [LeMahieu]. … That was a bullet."
"He's the best pitcher I've ever caught at his age. I'm telling you right now. It's funny, I keep thinking, his last name is Marquez, but I think Marquee when I hear his name. He's a Marquee pitcher, or he's gonna be. I really believe that."-- Lucroy on Marquez
"In this ballpark, with as much offense as occurs here, it's probably better to have one of the best pitchers in the league to try and hold the score where it is for another inning. Our bullpen's struggled at times and I felt like Michael Fulmer had as good a chance as anyone at keeping this game tied for another inning. -- Ausmus on the decision to let Fulmer hit in the seventh so he could pitch in the seventh, and their conversation on the mound before the Gonzalez sacrifice fly that gave Colorado the lead
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Tigers streak of six-consecutive wins over the Rockies ended Tuesday. They hadn't lost to the Rockies since June 16, 2012.
Tigers: Justin Verlander (9-8, 3.90 ERA) gets the start for the Tigers in Wednesday's series finale at 3:10 p.m. ET. Verlander has never lost to the Rockies, going 2-0 with a 1.99 ERA in three career starts. He's made one Coors Field start, a complete game win on June 19, 2011, when he allowed one run on four hits while striking out five..
Rockies: The Rockies send out Chad Bettis (0-1, 3.79 ERA) for Wednesday's finale at 1:10 p.m. MT. Bettis is making his fourth start of the year following his cancer treatments. He pitched well in his first two starts, giving up three runs in 14 innings, but struggled last Friday at Atlanta, allowing five runs in five innings.
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Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Rockies on Monday.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Tigers on Tuesday.