MINNEAPOLIS — In the team’s grittiest pitching performances of the season, Rockies starter German Marquez and closer Daniel Bard combined to shut out the Twins, 1-0, here Friday night at Target Field.
The victory, which took a mere 2 hours and 17 minutes to complete, snapped the Rockies’ three-game losing streak.
“This feels good and I’ve been through a lot this season,” said Marquez, who has posted a 4.40 ERA in five starts in June after putting up a 6.83 ERA in five starts in May. “It feels good to win games like this.”
It wasn’t the prettiest of gems — more like a rhinestone than a diamond — but Marquez pitched a gutsy 7 2/3 innings before giving way to Bard, who retired four Twins in a row to earn his 15th save.
“I’ve simplified what I’ve been doing a lot,” Bard said. “It’s basically a two-pitch mix and I have been in the zone with it. I’ve been in these situations a lot (with the Rockies) over the last 2 1/2 years.”
Manager Bud Black, who always maintained his belief that Marquez would rebound from his difficult start, was most impressed with Marquez’s fastball.
“The fastball played really well (tonight),” Black said. “The Twins did a really good job of fighting off his slider and curveball, which arguably are two of his best pitches from him, and two of the best pitches in baseball. But German made a number of really important pitches with his fastball, which had great movement and had velocity. I thought he got stronger as the game went on.”
Marquez allowed only three hits. However, he struck out only two batters and walked five, including leadoff walks in the first, third, sixth and eighth innings. Marquez became the first Rockies starting pitcher to work at least seven shutout innings and walk at least five batters since Ubaldo Jimenez pitched his no-hitter at Atlanta on April 17, 2010. Jimenez walked six over his nine innings, which remains the only no- hitter in Colorado history.
Marquez was aided by three plus-defensive plays. Connor Joe made two excellent catches in left field and first baseman CJ Cron robbed Max Kepler of a hit in the first inning with a leaping catch.
Marquez carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning before Kepler led off with a single. Kepler was quickly erased on a double play.
Ryan Jeffers painted the left-field line with a two-out double in the fifth, but Marquez calmly got Gilberto Celestino to ground out a second. Marquez recorded 12 outs via groundballs.
“I was throwing a lot of two-seamers tonight and that got me a lot of groundballs,” Marquez said.
The Rockies, who had just five hits, scraped together their only run off of right-hander Dylan Bundy in the sixth inning. Joe drilled a one-out single to right and raced to third on Yonathan Daza’s bloop single to center. Joe scored on Charlie Blackmon’s groundout to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead.
Bundy limited the Rockies to four hits over his six innings, striking out two and walking two. In six home starts this season, he’s 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA.
Colorado had a chance to blow the game open in the eighth. Elias Diaz drew a leadoff walk and Joe rapped his second hit of the night. Jonathan Daza grounded into a double play — the Rockies’ third of the night — but Diaz advanced to third. Up came Blackmon, who scorched a sinking liner to right field only to see Kepler make a brilliant diving catch to end the inning.