Things have pretty well stuck to a Rockies-friendly script through the first quarter of the season.
That was not the case Sunday in a 5-3 loss in Seattle, a matchup Colorado let slip away.
The Rockies entered the day with the best record in baseball. They had their ace going with German Marquez. Opposing them for Seattle — the team with the worst record in the game — was a pitcher with no career victories and a 6.41 ERA (including 9.39 this year).
But the Mariners scored twice in the first on a Dylan Moore home run, then scored three more runs (all unearned) against Colorado ace German Marquez.
Meanwhile, Colorado couldn’t figure out Seattle’s Justus Sheffield, who threw six solid innings to earn his first big-league win in his 10th start.
“We just couldn’t get a handle on (the breaking ball),” Rockies manager Bud Black said of Sheffield, who struck out seven, walked none and gave up four hits in six scoreless innings. “We don’t have a lot of history with him. We looked at a lot of videos, we talked about his stuff. A little bit different than what he did last year; a little bit different approach.
“We’ll follow this fella. He’ll be pitching against a lot of our competition, so we’ll see how he does. Today was a good one for him, he pitched well.”
Marquez was nearly as good, with two large caveats. He gave up a first-pitch single to J.P. Crawford to lead off the game, then Moore homered to right. After that, Marquez faced the minimum into the seventh inning.
He was on track to do the same in the seventh, when Marquez coaxed what looked like his third double-play ground ball of the game. But Chris Owings — playing third in place of Nolan Arenado, who received a day off amid a prolonged slump — bobbled the ball, then threw wildly. The extra outs helped the Mariners score three runs.
“The best thing we can do is keep the game close, battle with the stuff you have in that game,” said Marquez, who continued Colorado’s 21-game run of starters not allowing more than three unearned runs.
His final line was seven innings, six hits, five runs (two earned), four strikeouts and one walk.
The impact of Owings' misplay was magnified in the eighth, when Colorado scored three times. Had Owings helped Marquez out of the seventh unscathed, those three runs would have put Colorado in front. Instead, it cut the deficit to 5-3 and the bottom of the Rockies order went 1-2-3 in the ninth.
“More often than not, we’re going to play a sound game defensively,” Black said.
Charlie Blackmon walked and scored a run during Colorado’s three-run eighth. He went 2 for 3, doubling in the first to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. His season batting average stands at .458.
The Rockies (11-4) return to Coors Field on Monday to open a three-game series against Arizona.