Following the lead of Marquez, Rockies down Pirates to end skid

May 21, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher German Marquez (48) throws the ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies have been on a climb since the season’s early going. After falling into the biggest hole in the history of the franchise, they’ve attempted to claw back to .500 ever since.

In the first game of a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday night, the Rockies improved to 21-25 on the year, courtesy of a 5-0 victory.

German Marquez dazzled and the offense put the ball in play en route to breaking their four-game losing streak.

Ahead are takeaways from the triumph.

Marquez takes the role of streak stopper

First, it was against the San Francisco Giants. With his team facing their worst start in franchise history, German Marquez hurled a complete-game shutout. Tasked with breaking the club’s latest losing streak, the youngster shined once again.

After allowing a double in the first inning, Marquez sat down 10 consecutive batters. The spree including three of his seven total strikeouts.

When he got into trouble, Marquez was also able to break through including the fifth inning when a pair of runners reached. With pinch-hitter Kevin Newman up, he induced a flyball to right field on a curveball to escape the jam.

In all, Marquez went eight scoreless innings, allowed three hits and only walked one. The free pass came on the heels of a pair of starts without a single walk. Prior to his latest effort, he’d allowed multiple earned runs in each of his last six starts. 

The start lowered his season earned run average to 3.38, the top mark among the club’s four-man starting rotation.

Blackmon continues to surge

Since April 16th, Charlie Blackmon has sizzled, hitting .347 and registering 24 extra-bases hits including a triple in the club’s opening win over the Pirates.

In the win, Blackmon went 3-for-5, including his aforementioned three-bag effort. Of his five balls put in play, four were over 93.5 miles per hour off the bat according to the Statcast

Blackmon’s three-hit effort was his sixth of the season and continued a 16-game on-base streak that stands as the longest active streak in the National League.

The outburst after a slow start has brought about memories of Blackmon’s 2017 season in which he finished fifth in National League Most Valuable Player voting. In the same amount of plate appearances, Blackmon is now on pace for a career-high 96 extra-base hits including 34 home runs and 103 runs batted. 

Murphy shows sign of life

Daniel Murphy, both with the New York Mets and Washington Nationals, was often regarded as one of the league’s elite hitters. Since he made his way to Denver, things have been rough.

After only two games in Miami, Murphy suffered a fracture in his finger on a sliding play in the field that caused him to miss a month. Since his return, adorned in a new hand brace, he’d struggled to the tune of a .183 average and sapped power in 68 plate appearances,

In the team’s first of three games in Pittsburgh, Murphy’s power appeared to be back. For his first at-bat, he lined a double to right field. Though it didn’t drop the second time around, Murphy once again drove a ball to right field that was caught on the warning track.

The veteran has never been a league-changing power hitter. Murphy has, however, shown a propensity to sting balls into the gaps with regularity, something that the club hopes has returned after an early hiatus.

Rockies continue their peaks and valleys in punchout department

Thus far in 2019, the Rockies have garnered nearly as many double-digit strikeout games (21) as they have single digit (25). Against the Pirates, the latter rang true. 

Against Chris Archer, a notoriously whiff-heavy pitcher, the Rockies kept their composure at the plate and put the ball in play early and often. Of the first 24 hitters, all with Archer opposing them, only three went down on a strikeout.

Overall, the Rockies’ lineup only struck out five times in the game, tied for their second-lowest single-game total of the year.

In games they’ve struck out 10 times or more, the club has gone 8-13. When the final total has fallen short of that number, they’ve gone 13-12.