Rockies’ offense struggles, German Marquez so-so in loss to D-backs

PHOENIX — Great expectations turned into lousy results for the Rockies on Sunday afternoon in their 4-0 loss to the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

Expectation: Struggling starter German Marquez would finally regain his all-star form from last season. It didn’t happen, though manager Bud Black termed Marquez’s start “encouraging.”

Expectation: Colorado’s tepid road offense would heat up, at least enough to challenge Arizona right-hander Zac Gallen. Nope. He pitched seven scoreless innings, gave up only five hits and fanned seven.

Expectation: The Rockies would find a way to win their third road series of the season. Nah. Arizona took two of three games and the Rockies lost on the road for their sixth time in seven games.

Marquez entered the game with opponents hitting .336 against him and his 6.92 ERA was the second-highest in the majors among starting pitchers.

He was better than that Sunday, and he pitched a little bit better than his line indicated. He was charged with four runs (three earned) on six hits over six innings. He flashed some of his old form with seven strikeouts, but he walked four and needed 98 pitches (63 strikes).

“I feel like today I was a lot better, I’m getting there,” the right-hander said. “I missed my spots a little bit today, but it was just one inning.”

That would be the second inning, when Arizona did most of its damage. Ketel Marte led off with a double to right, Geraldo Perdomo walked and Nick Ahmed singled in Marte. Marquez struck out Alek Thomas, in Thomas’ first big-league at-bat, but Jose Herrera pulled a two-run double that stayed just fair down the first-base line.

Thomas led off the fifth with his first big-league hit, ripping a double to left. Herrera advanced Thomas to third on a sacrifice bunt and then Marquez walked Cooper Hummel. Thomas scored on Marquez’s wild pickoff throw to first, a ball that C.J. Cron got a glove on and perhaps should have caught.

“I thought German pitched well enough to win a game like that,” Black said. “He gave up four runs on six hits, three earned runs. A lot of times you win games like that. But I think the story was their guy. He pitched better. He was outstanding.”

The Rockies managed eight hits in their 4-1 come-from-behind win on Saturday night, but Arizona pitchers dominated them for the most part. Colorado hit .200 (20-for-100) in the three-game series. In their last seven road games, the Rockies have averaged 2.0 runs per game.

Ryan McMahon, who went 0-for-4 Sunday, with two strikeouts, including one by Gallen, tipped his cap to the right-hander.

“He just didn’t make a lot of mistakes over the plate and if he missed, he missed in the right spot,” McMahon said. “We probably didn’t do a good job of getting him (to pitch) over the plate. He just came at us and he beat us.”

The Rockies’ annual road-hitting woes are becoming an issue again but McMahon doesn’t have an easy solution.

“I have been asked that a lot but I don’t know if I have an answer,” he said. “If I had an answer and found something, we’d all do it. This is just something that happens sometimes.”

The journey doesn’t get any easier for the Rockies, who open a three-game series at San Francisco on Monday night. The Rockies were 4-15 vs. the Giants last season, including a 2-8 record at Oracle Park.

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