DENVER (AP) — In a sixth-inning jam, German Marquez received a visit from his manager and a little advice: Don’t do too much. Stay in the moment. Execute.
Bud Black might as well have been talking to his entire team as Colorado chases after its first division title.
Trevor Story hit a three-run homer during a six-run fifth inning, Marquez struck out 11 over seven masterful innings and the NL West-leading Rockies gained more separation with a 13-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night.
The Rockies increased their lead to 1 1/2 games over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost 10-6 at Cincinnati. The Diamondbacks now trail by 3 1/2 games. This is the latest the Rockies have been alone atop the division since 1995.
“The magnitude of these games is maybe a little bit enlarged because of where we are in the season and the amount of focus on this part of the season. But our guys are responding,” Black said. “They’re focused. They know what’s going on. They’re aware of what’s around them. It’s a group that understands where they are.”
David Dahl put the game out of reach with his first career grand slam in a seven-run seventh. Arizona has allowed 10 or more runs four times this season — three of those to Colorado.
Story provided the big blow with his 32nd homer on a fastball from Silvino Bracho after the reliever took over when starter Zack Godley (14-9) struggled with his command.
Marquez (12-9) had his blazing fastball and breaking ball working in recording his third straight double-digit strikeout performance. The hard-throwing righty now has 44 strikeouts spanning his last four starts, breaking the team record of 42 set by Pedro Astacio in 2000.
“Kind of expect that these days,” Dahl said. “Feels like he strikes everyone out.”
Marquez’s confidence level is at an all-time high. Still, Black had a little talk with him in the sixth — just to settle him down. It worked as he struck out Steven Souza Jr. to end the threat.
“He’s not doing anything special. He’s being German Marquez,” Black said. “He’s repeating his delivery. He’s hitting his spots. He’s got good stuff. He’s pitching with conviction.”
Charlie Blackmon, Tony Wolters and DJ LeMahieu each had three hits for Colorado, which bounced back after dropping two of three to the Dodgers over the weekend.
Paul Goldschmidt celebrated his 31st birthday with a single and an RBI on a ground out. Goldschmidt has now reached base in 46 straight road games. His team has dropped three in a row.
“Frustration is high right now. It has been for several days,” Diamondbacks Torey Lovullo said. “We are going to press on.”
Godley was cruising along until the fifth when he kept trailing off to the side of the mound on his delivery maybe a little more than usual. With the bases loaded, he issued a four-pitch walk to LeMahieu that ended of his night.
“This was one of those games where somebody needed to step up,” Godley said. “I did not do that.”
Rockies: 3B Nolan Arenado has been getting treatment on his sore throwing shoulder. “There’s only so much they can do and only make me feel so good,” said Arenado, who went 0 for 4 with an RBI. “(Healing) comes with rest. There’s no time to rest right now.”
On Sept. 10, 2009, with Washington, Ian Desmond made his major league debut. On his nine-year anniversary, he hit a double to lead off the fifth and start the big rally.
“He was a young dynamic player with a skill set that you see present today,” Black said.
Arenado remembers competing against Goldschmidt in 2009 when he was at Casper of the rookie league and Goldschmidt with Missoula.
“I was playing third base with him hitting and I was terrified,” Arenado said. “I was 18 and he was raking then, too. I was super scared.”
Marquez said he knows Astacio, who offers Marquez advice from time to time.
“It means a lot to me,” Marquez said.
Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (13-9, 3.08 ERA) faces a Rockies team Tuesday night he’s beaten twice this season. The Rockies will throw RHP Antonio Senzatela (4-5, 4.92).
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