DENVER (AP) – The start of the game could not have gone much better for German Marquez.
And the end was a pleasure, too, for to the Colorado Rockies, who moved back into the NL West lead.
The hard-throwing Marquez started with eight straight strikeouts to match a modern-era big league record, and the Rockies routed the Philadelphia Phillies 14-0 on Wednesday night to take a step closer to a postseason berth.
“We still have got four more games. So we have to keep our heads in the same spot, just stay focused and continue to play good baseball,” Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez said. “Anything can happen in four days. But we’re right around where we want to be.”
The Rockies outscored the Phillies by 34-4 over the first three games of the four-game series. David Dahl homered for the third straight game, and the Rockies went deep four times in all as they extended their winning streak to six.
Colorado moved into the top spot in the NL West by a half-game with the Los Angeles Dodgers losing at Arizona. Trying to capture their first division title, the Rockies have not been in first place this late since 1995.
They also opened a 1 1/2-game advantage over St. Louis for the last NL wild-card spot.
Marquez (14-10) allowed three hits in seven innings and struck out 11 to set a Rockies record with 221 for the season, seven more than Ubaldo Jimenez’s total in 2010.
By striking out his first eight batters, Marquez tied a post-1900 mark set by Houston’s Jim Deshaies on Sept. 23, 1986, and equaled by the New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom on Sept. 15, 2014. The overall record of nine was set by New York’s Mickey Welch in an NL game on Aug. 28, 1884.
Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta finally broke the string with a grounder that Marquez fielded only to throw wildly to first for an error. Roman Quinn got Philadelphia’s first hit in the fourth.
“I really executed my plan good,” Marquez said through an interpreter. “The same mindset, attacking the hitter and executing my pitches. A lot of times it doesn’t work perfectly. Tonight, it was close to that.”
Marquez had everything working – fastball, his two breaking balls and even an occasional change.
“It was impressive,” Gonzalez said. “It’s one of those things you really enjoy as a position player, seeing a guy dominate the way he did tonight. It’s exactly what we need at this point.”
Marquez’s gem is the latest chapter in what’s been a frustrating finish for the Phillies (78-80), who have lost a season-high seven straight and have gone 15-32 since moving a season-high 15 games over .500 on Aug. 5. Philadelphia allowed double-digit runs in three straight games for the first time since June 1-4, 1958.
“We’re playing really bad baseball right now, really bad baseball,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “There’s no excuse for it, none at all and we all have to look ourselves in the mirror, individually and collectively and figure out how to be better.”
Trevor Story finished a double shy of the cycle. Charlie Blackmon went 0 for 4, ending his 17-game hitting streak.
Colorado broke open the game with a seven-run fifth that included Dahl’s three-run homer, a two-run shot from Story and another two-run homer by Ian Desmond. All seven runs were scored with two outs.
“Nobody wants to go out there and try to carry the weight or try to be the hero,” Gonzalez said. “Everybody needs to do their part and believe in their teammates. That’s what we’re doing.”
CARGO’S BIG NIGHT
Gonzalez had two hits and drove in two runs. He’s hitting .363 in his career against the Phillies.
The player nicknamed Cargo also chipped in with a play in the field. With two outs in the fourth and Quinn on first, Dylan Cozens delivered a single to right that Gonzalez quickly relayed to Story, who twirled and threw out Quinn at the plate.
Pivetta (7-14) allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings and has not won since Aug. 7 at Arizona.
“It starts with me. It ends with me and I didn’t set the tone today,” Pivetta said.
Phillies: INF J.P. Crawford is dealing with a right shoulder impingement. … C Wilson Ramos was out of the lineup with a sore wrist. … RHP Zach Eflin has a strained left oblique.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (sore shoulder) played an “aggressive game of catch today,” MGR Bud Black said. “We are encouraged about where Tyler is.” Anderson’s start Monday was scratched.
Colorado’s RHP Antonio Senzatela (6-6, 4.52 ERA) starts Thursday against RHP Jake Arrieta (10-10, 3.94), who is 2-2 in his career against the Rockies.
By PAT GRAHAM
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