Rockies right-hander German Marquez is beginning to make a name for himself.
On Tuesday night in Cleveland, the rookie held the Indians scoreless on two hits in six-plus innings -- and he stayed right with Indians two-time All-Star and 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. The Rockies suffered a heartbreaking 4-1 loss at Progressive Field on Yan Gomes' three-run homer as Greg Holland took his second straight blown save.
It was the Rockies' first loss in Marquez's last six starts, but the rookie is 4-0 with a 2.95 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 10 walks over that span. Even though neither he nor the Rockies were rewarded Tuesday, Marquez, 22, demonstrated that he can handle big games that will continue to come for a team that's in position to earn one of the National League Wild Card berths.
"It definitely was a challenge to face one of the best pitchers in the game, and face one of the best lineups in the game," Marquez said in Spanish, with first-base coach Tony Diaz translating. "So you have to step up your game."
Marquez entered averaging 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings, but this time he relied on contact. Often, the infield positioning was impeccable, as third baseman Nolan Arenado especially handled multiple chances that would have been troublesome had his alignment not been shifted.
"I'm really proud of German matching Kluber," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "I think we talked about it the last couple starts. He had a good breaking ball, fastball velocity. At times he got away with fastballs that missed locations, but he had enough velocity and enough carry to them to beat some bats."
Two of Marquez's three walks came with one out in the sixth. But he had help from first baseman Mark Reynolds, who dove to snatch Abraham Almonte's liner, then made a difficult play on a ground ball and dove around Marquez -- who was trying to cover first -- to tag Jose Ramirez.
The loss was no fault of Marquez, but he didn't fault Holland, either.
"I would say that that's baseball," Marquez said. "That happens. Holland has been a horse for us all year. We just have to get back at it tomorrow and get ready."