PITTSBURGH — The Rockies waded into the fountain of youth Wednesday night and came away with an important victory.
Behind a bounce-back start from rookie starter German Marquez and a career-high four hits from speedy rookie outfielder Raimel Tapia, the Rockies beat Pittsburgh 5-1 to snuff out a three-game losing streak.
The Rockies (42-26) finished their seven-game road trip 4-3 and begin a seven-game homestand Thursday at Coors Field against San Francisco.
An assist goes to left-handed reliever Jake McGee, who inherited a one-out bases loaded mess from Adam Ottavino in the seventh and bailed him out. McGee induced a weak pop up to center from Adam Frazier and struck out Josh Harrison with a rising, 97 mph fastball.
McGee came back out and pitched a scoreless eighth, bridging to closer Greg Holland, who set the Pirates down in order in the ninth.
Marquez, just 22, grew up a little bit more Wednesday night.
In his last start, he was gone after three innings, weighed down by an 80-pitch load. But the right-hander delivered five-plus solid innings Wednesday night, allowing one run on four hits.
Marquez kept his cool in a bizarre fifth inning that included a near brouhaha. Andrew McCutchen singled with one out, and then Marquez threw an inside fastball that clipped Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli. At that point, Cervelli and Colorado catch Tony Wolters started jawing and the benches emptied.
No punches were thrown and order was restored, but with two outs, Marquez uncorked a wild pitch, advancing McCutchen to third and Cervelli to second. Colorado’s 3-0 lead was in danger, but Marquez got pinch-hitter Jose Osuna to groundout to short.
After two games here in which the offense scuffled terribly, the Rockies needed an early boost. They got it from Ian Desmond in the second inning. He lined the first pitch he saw from Pittsburgh starter Chad Kuhl just over the left-field wall. Desmond’s fourth homer gave Colorado a 1-0 lead.
Colorado pulled ahead 3-0 in the fifth on an RBI single by Trevor Story through the left side to score Desmond, and with an adventurous, but ultimately successful sacrifice bunt by Marquez to score Tapia, whose speed helped him reach on an infield single. Marquez got clipped on the finger by an earlier bunt attempt, but he stood tall at the plate and put down a two-strike bunt between the mound and first base. Pirates first baseman Josh Bell was charged with a fielding error, but Marquez was credited with an RBI.
Tapia, getting the start in front of the slumping Carlos Gonzalez, scored three runs. He led off the seventh with a ground-rule double to left and came home on a pinch-hit single to right by Alexi Amarisa to boost Colorado’s lead to 4-1. Tapia scored again in the ninth, reaching on another infield single and scoring on Pat Valaika’s shallow sacrifice fly to foul territory down the third-base line.