DENVER -- Rookie right-hander German Marquez held the Cubs hitless through six innings and scoreless on three hits for eight, as the National League West-leading Rockies beat the Cubs, 3-0, at Coors Field on Wednesday afternoon to win the three-game series.
Marquez, who established a fastball early then strategically used his curve and a little bit of a slider and change while tallying eight strikeouts, silenced the Cubs on 99 pitches, 69 strikes, as the Rox improved to 22-13 -- the best record after 35 games in their history. The Cubs' Kris Bryant broke up the no-hitter with a double to the left-field corner to open the seventh, but he didn't advance.
Marquez (1-2) -- ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Rockies' No. 4 prospect -- entered with an 11.71 ERA in two home starts, against the Nationals and the D-backs. But against the defending World Series champs, who have lost five of their last six and hit .177 over that stretch, Marquez's performance resembled that of his April 30 outing at Arizona, when he fanned eight in six scoreless innings of a no-decision.
"Right from the beginning -- when my fastball is located, everything is good," Marquez said.
"He had a really good hook, and it's really good against lefties," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Marquez. "It gets underneath them well. Your best defense or offense against it is not to swing at it, but it's hard to lay off it. He had a good fastball, mixed in some changeups. Command was good, command of his curveball was good, and his curveball was the difference-maker."
A third baseman in Venezuela before a Rockies scout convinced him to pitch (he would sign with the Rays and eventually come to the Rockies in a trade), Marquez added a two-run single -- his first Major League hit -- in the seventh off Carl Edwards Jr.
The Rockies needed every bit of Marquez's acumen. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks faced his biggest trouble in the fourth, when Ian Desmond delivered a sacrifice fly with one out after Colorado loaded the bases. Hendricks then struck out Pat Valaika to end the threat. Hendricks, who was responsible for the runners that Marquez drove in, was charged with three runs (two earned) on four hits in 6 1/3 frames. He struck out seven.
"You saw the more awkward swings [against Kyle] today," Maddon said. "You saw the taken strike, the swing and miss, so he was looking a lot more normal today than he has in a while, and especially here against this team. I thought he was outstanding."
Greg Holland improved to 14-for-14 on save chances while completing the Rockies' third shutout this season and second at Coors. The game was delayed by rain for 50 minutes before first pitch.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED CarGo lays out: Hendricks nearly ended the no-hit bid with a line drive to right with one out in the sixth. However, Carlos Gonzalez dashed toward the foul line and robbed him with a 5-star catch, according to Statcast™. Gonzalez dashed 37 feet in 2.9 seconds -- an 18 percent Catch Probability. On Tuesday, Gonzalez also made a 5-star catch -- with a 5 percent Catch Probability -- on a Javier Baez drive during a victory in the first game of a doubleheader. More >
No fear: For all the early no-hit drama, Marquez made his biggest pitches after giving up one-out hits to Tommy La Stella and Ben Zobrist in the eighth. He retired Willson Contreras on a roller too slow for a double-play turn, then challenged Jon Jay with four fastballs -- the last 96.5 mph, which wasn't far off from his 97.9 top speed -- to end his outing with a grounder to third.
"I said, 'This batter, I need to finish him,'" Marquez said. "The fans were loud, too. But I didn't get nervous. I had adrenaline."
"Efficient, throwing strikes, locating the fastball. For a young man against the world champions to do this, it was a pretty special game." -- Rockies manager Bud Black, on Marquez
"The unlikely single by their pitcher on an 0-2 count. Wow. ... That guy can't hit. That's just one of those really non-fortuitous moments. There's no way to describe it other than that." -- Maddon, on Marquez's two-run single
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Marquez became the sixth Rockies pitcher to take a no-hitter at least six innings at Coors Field. The others were Jorge De La Rosa against the Padres on May 16, 2014 (Chris Denorfia broke it up); Jhoulys Chacin against the Giants on Aug. 28, 2013 (Brandon Crawford); John Thomson against the Pirates on May 2, 2002 (Armando Rios); Pedro Astacio against the Giants on June 3, 2001 (Jeff Kent); and Astacio against the Padres on July 23, 2000 (Al Martin).
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs: The Cubs travel to St. Louis after Thursday's off-day to start a three-game series on Friday at 7:15 p.m. CT. Chicago is recalling right-hander Eddie Butler from Triple-A Iowa, where he is 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA through five starts spanning 30 2/3 innings, to make the start. The Cardinals will send Mike Leake to the hill. Leake is 9-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 23 starts against the Cubs.
Rockies: Lefty Tyler Anderson (2-3, 6.69 ERA), coming off his best start of the season in a win over the D-backs last Saturday, will face the Dodgers and lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu on Thursday at 6:40 p.m. MT in Colorado.