The Rockies snapped their eight-game losing streak in decisive fashion Sunday afternoon taking a 4-0 victory over the Giants on a one-hitter from right-hander German Márquez backed by strong Colorado defense.
As San Francisco’s bats produced barely a squeak, Derek Holland struggled with command allowing four hits, four walks and a three-run shot (1) off the bat of Nolan Arenado, ending the homestand on a down note.
Manager Bruce Bochy said there were several balls off Giants bats that could have just as soon have been hits, but he also offered high praise for the Rockies 24-year-old righty who dominated on the mound in the finale:
“The few balls we did hit hard, we hit right at ’em, so a little tough luck there but you give credit where it’s due. He pitched a heck of a game and he’s gonna throw a lot of games like that, that’s how good his stuff is.”
Gerardo Parra nearly stopped the no-hitter-watch before it began in the third with a liner out to left center, but Rockies centerfielder Ian Desmond ran about a mile and made a dazzling, diving catch to rob him of what would’ve been a two-bagger.
Meanwhile Holland (L, 1-2, 4.09 ERA) was inefficient and couldn’t find the strike zone. He threw more than 20 pitches in three of his six innings and allowed four walks. He had shorter fourth and sixth innings, which allowed him to make it through six on 101 pitches and save some bullpen arms, but Márquez tossed a complete game on just four more pitches.
Holland said he was disappointed that he wasn’t able to pitch as efficiently as he did in his last outing facing the Padres. Then he lasted seven innings and allowed just one run. He said:
“I was very erratic, I got ahead and then the Rockies did a good job of working the count, getting back into 3-2 counts. And I worked a few walks in there that I wish I wouldn’t have gotten but at the same time it’s a tough, tough lineup to go through and they got the better side of it.”
Two of the walks Holland allowed were drawn by Arenado, the second of which turned into a run when Trevor Story followed by slapping an RBI double to deep centerfield to score Arenado.
It’s nevertheless likely Dutch would have preferred walking the All Star a third time over what happened in Arenado’s third at-bat in the fifth. Charlie Blackmon and Garrett Hampson singled to set the table and the Rockies franchise player took advantage of the moment, hitting his first dinger of the season to put the Rox ahead 4-0.
Holland said he was trying to throw a two-seamer but it ended up right down the middle and Arenado didn’t miss. Said Holland:
“He’s hands-down one of the best hitters in the game and the execution is what you need right there in that situation. [He’s] the one guy you truly don’t want to beat you and he put the runs up for them. I put that right there on a platter for him, it’s not what I wanted, clearly.”
The three-run homer may have been a confidence-booster for the slumping Arenado but he likely would have traded it for the chance to save Márquez’s no-hitter on the grounder Longoria hit past him into left field.
Of breaking up Marquez’s no-hitter, Longoria said:
“It feels kind of like survival mode, you know, it’s almost like everybody’s just trying to get a hit for the morale of the team. And you feel like you can [still] win the game. I felt like today we hit some balls, pretty hard throughout the course of the game, and nothing fell.”
Bochy said the guys need to shake off the one-hitter and he takes solace in the fact that with the three wins over the Rockies, San Francisco won their first series of the season:
“We’re on the road now, we’ve got a day off and we’ll regroup. We bounced back pretty good for the last couple series and to take this series I thought was huge for the club. They played well, we really gritted out that 18 inning game [on Friday] and came back and did very well the next day, so they did a nice job there. We just had our hands full today.”
The Giants embark on a a nine-day, three-city road trip starting in Washington D.C. to take on the Nationals for a three-game series starting Tuesday. Dereck Rodríguez (1-2, 4.15 ERA) is due to face right-hander Steven Strasburg (1-0, 5.40 ERA) for the 4:05 p.m. start. San Francisco will head to Pittsburgh next and finish up in Toronto before returning to face the Yankees at home April 26.