DENVER — Rockies' manager Bud Black had a secret on Sunday morning.
His ace Germán Márquez was selected to his first All-Star Game. But he was also starting Sunday, and Márquez has been so in the zone that Black was afraid something like this could throw him off.
Black consulted with a herd of people, all the way up to owner Dick Monfort. Black decided to wait, and Márquez put out another gem, tossing 11 strikeouts in six innings.
After the top of the sixth, Black came up to Márquez and put his arms around him. Márquez thought Black was there to tell him he was done for the day. Instead, Black told him the news: he was a first-time All-Star. The dugout erupted, as his teammates swarmed Márquez.
"I couldn't wait to tell him," Black said. "I was holding that in. When I told him, it was a great moment."
Márquez will be the Rockies’ lone representative in the All-Star Game, but Trevor Story will compete in the home run derby the night before. On Sunday, both put out masterful performances, with Márquez allowing just two runs and Story hitting his second homer in as many days.
Elias Díaz was the walk-off hero for the second time in three days, hitting it sharply to left field to allow Joshua Fuentes to score as the Rockies beat the Cardinals 3-2. They won six out of seven on the home stand, including three out of four over the Cardinals and former Rockie Nolan Arenado.
Márquez has been on a roll lately, and earned his spot after allowing just three runs in his last four starts, including pitching a complete-game shutout Tuesday. He’s the eighth pitcher in Rockies’ history to be selected to the midseason classic, and first starter since Ubaldo Jiménez in 2010.
Márquez was announced as an All-Star in front of 36,891 people at Coors Field, who rewarded him with a standing ovation.
"It’s one of those moments that’s unforgettable," he said. "That’s something I’m never going to forget. There’s all sorts of emotions going on."
Márquez’s 11 strikeouts in six innings was his 10th outing with double-digit strikeouts, tied for the third most in franchise history.
After Story's homer in the first, the Rockies didn't score again until the eighth, when Story hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game 2-2.
Justin Lawrence, in just his 12th major league appearance, was trusted with the ninth inning of a 2-2 game. He got into a little trouble, giving up a hit and a walk, but got some help from Trevor Story with a double play to end the inning.
Arenado, whose high-profile divorce with the Rockies was the talk of baseball last offseason, finished the series against his former team with just one hit.
"It was a great series," Black said. "Very emotional in a lot of ways. Fans included. The thing that sticks out to me, really good baseball. High drama, two teams that played real well."