The Rockies did something seemingly even rarer than the upcoming strawberry full moon: they won a game on the road.
It’s happened just five previous times this season, and on Wednesday they accomplished that feat again, beating the Mariners 5-2. They did so off another dominant performance from Germán Márquez, who carried a perfect game into the sixth inning.
The Rockies are hard on their prized pitcher, with high expectations for his performance. In his last outing, Márquez gave up just one hit in six innings. But his fastball command that day wasn’t up to par, something that has been a battle for him all season, and they marked it up to be just a so-so outing.
The Rockies weren't concerned about his lack of command earlier this season, but manager Bud Black said that he was a bit baffled. They worked specifically on his tempo, timing his first move to his last move.
That made what he did Wednesday so much sweeter. He sent the first 15 batters packing, needing just 58 pitches to get through the first five innings. There were signs in the beginning of the sixth that he was starting to wear down, needing a 3-2 count, his highest of the day up until that point, to retire Dylan Moore. Then Márquez threw a slider down the middle, and Taylor Trammel made him pay by hitting it 368 feet over the center-field wall.
"I told (pitching coach) Steve Forster after the home run, I could visualize that happening, a no-hitter perfect game," Black said. "I thought his stuff was good."
Márquez's outing was one of his best, and longest, of the season. He knew from the first pitch, when he earned his first strike, that his stuff was on. The perfect game was also on his mind.
"I wanted to throw a good game for everybody," he said. "I just want to win. I work so hard for that. I’m getting the results. I feel so happy."
He threw eight innings, giving up two hits and earning seven strikeouts. His fastball command was on, and he was able to throw it down and away to get seven strikeouts and 10 ground-ball outs. He also added a few change-ups — incorporating that into his repertoire is his next focus, as it will come in handy against left-handed pitchers. He lowered his ERA to 3.99.
As has not often been the case on the road, Márquez got some help from his teammates. All of the Rockies’ runs came on home runs, with Trevor Story nailing two for his seventh and eighth of the season. It was his 16th multi-homer game of his career. Brendan Rodgers also sneaked one over the wall, his fourth of his career.
CJ Cron extended his hitting streak to eight games with a double in the fourth, but Raimel Tapia was not able to extend his 18-game hitting streak, earning a walk but no hits.
“He’s an ace," Story said about Márquez. "He created a lot of momentum for the offense. We knew he had his good stuff. He definitely helped out the offense with the way he pitched."