German Marquez gave the Rockies their best pitching performance of the season, and that’s saying something.
Colorado won 5-1 in a matinee at Oakland on Wednesday, taking their fourth straight and closing a season-opening road trip 4-1 in advance of Friday’s home opener against San Diego.
The win finished a two-game sweep in the team’s lone trip this season to Oakland.
Marquez went six innings, striking out eight and allowing only one run – a first inning home run to Matt Chapman on a high fastball. The Athletics scarcely threatened the Colorado ace beyond that. Marquez struck out the first two batters he faced on six pitches, struck out the side in the third and retired the final five batters he faced.
He was almost this good in the opener, going five innings in a 1-0 loss at Texas. But then, Colorado’s rotation has been almost this good throughout the young season. The group – Marquez in two starts; Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela in one apiece – have a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 25 strikeouts.
Unlike his first start, Marquez received a little support this time. Catcher Tony Wolters hit an RBI single off the wall from the No. 9 spot in the order in the second and No. 8 hitter Garrett Hampson added a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Both plays plated Ryan McMahon.
Charlie Blackmon added an insurance run in the eighth with a double that scored Trevor Story.
The Rockies also scored a pair on a Blackmon comebacker to the mound with two outs in the ninth. A’s pitcher Jesus Luzardo didn’t field the ball cleanly and then softly threw to first with a throw that pulled Matt Olson off the base. Garrett Hampson easily scored from third and Trevor Story hustled in behind him with a second run as Olson initially turned to dispute the call with the first-base umpire.
Oakland’s best chance against Marquez came in the fourth when Robbie Grossman’s two-out double gave the A’s runners at second and third. A ground ball to Nolan Arenado at third followed. Losing track of the outs, Arenado threw home, where a surprised Wolters took the throw and tagged out Matt Olson to end the threat. The Athletics challenged the call, with replays suggesting Olson touched the plate before the tag was applied; but the out was upheld.
The Rockies later escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, with Jairo Diaz escaping with a strikeout of Grossman.
Colorado’s bullpen threw three scoreless innings and has given up just two runs in 16 2/3 innings this season.