German Márquez struck out seven over eight dominant innings, Trevor Story hit his 11th home run and the Colorado Rockies cooled off the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-0 Tuesday night.
Márquez (5-2) gave up three hits, walked one and didn’t allow a runner to third base as the Rockies snapped a four-game losing streak. Márquez improved to 4-1 in five career starts against the Pirates and lowered his ERA to 2.08 away from Coors Field.
Charlie Blackmon went 3 for 5 for Colorado, including a two-run triple to left off Chris Archer (1-4) in the fourth. Story homered for the second straight game when his shot to deep left field in the third inning glanced off the glove of Pittsburgh leftfielder Bryan Reynolds and into the seats.
That was more than enough offense for Márquez, who gave the Rockies just their second win during their current eight-game road swing by shutting down the surging Pirates.
Pittsburgh came in off a 7-4 road trip through St. Louis, Arizona and San Diego bolstered by the white-hot bat of first baseman Josh Bell.
Bell entered with a major league-leading 44 RBIs — the third-most by a Pirates player through 44 games since it became an official statistic in 1920 — but went 0 for 4. Bell’s teammates didn’t fare much better. Pittsburgh mustered only a first inning double by Reynolds and a pair of singles in the fifth by Melky Cabrera and Francisco Cervelli. Otherwise, the Pirates were kept off balance by Márquez.
Pittsburgh kept pace in the crowded NL Central despite a patched together starting rotation. Archer — who missed three weeks with inflammation in his right thumb before returning last week — was hoping to give the bullpen a relatively easy night but struggled with pitch efficiency.
He needed 23 pitches to get out of a scoreless first inning and ran into more trouble in the second. Daniel Murphy led off with a double and moved to third on a grounder by Ian Desmond. The Pirates appeared to have Murphy caught in a run down between third and home after a grounder by Tony Wolters, but Cervelli’s flip to third baseman Colin Moran deflected off Murphy’s helmet and rolled away from Moran, allowing Murphy to score.
Story’s shot to left in the third pushed him into a tie with Nolan Arenado for the team lead in home runs. And Blackmon’s slicing liner to the notch in left-center in the fourth pushed Colorado’s lead to 4-0.
Archer gave up four runs, three earned, in five innings, with two walks and three strikeouts as his ERA ticked down to 5.55. He needed 92 pitches to get 15 outs. Márquez, meanwhile, needed 104 pitches to get through eight full innings.
HE’S OUTTA HERE
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle was ejected in the eighth after pinch-hitter Jake Elmore was called out on an odd play at first. Elmore hit a grounder to Márquez and Márquez made a sweeping tag attempt as Elmore ran to first. Elmore was called out on the field and the call was upheld on video review, even though replays clearly showed Márquez failed to tag Elmore.
Pirates: RF Gregory Polanco was a late scratch due to finger discomfort in his left hand. … Cervelli left in the sixth inning with an upper chest contusion after a foul ball appeared to hit his throat. … LF Corey Dickerson (right shoulder sprain) threw to bases and participated in batting practice.
Rockies: Jon Gray (3-4, 4.73 ERA) is 0-1 with a 9.95 ERA in three starts against the Pirates.
Pirates: Could use an “opener” again on Wednesday.