The Rockies are limping toward the finish line and it ain’t pretty.
The rebuilding Washington Nationals (65-91) beat the Rockies 5-4 on Monday night at Coors Field, extending Colorado’s losing streak to five games as all-star pitcher German Marquez’s second-half slump continued.
At one point, the Rockies owned one of the best home records in the majors, but they are 1-6 on their final homestand of the season and 3-13 over their last 16 games at Coors.
The Nationals threatened to blow the game wide open in the ninth against closer Carlos Estevez. With one run already in, they loaded the base with no outs but Estevez got the dangerous Juan Soto to pop out to shallow left field and got Josh Bell to ground into a one-two-three double play.
That set the stage for Colorado’s mini-rally in the bottom of the frame. Trevor Story drew a two-out walk and scored on C.J. Cron’s double into the left-field corner off Tanner Rainey, but Ryan McMahon grounded out to second for the final out.
Nationals right-hander Josiah Gray, making his 12th big-league start, blanked the Rockies for five innings, allowing just two singles. He hit the wall in Colorado’s three-run sixth, but still picked up his second win of the season.
Garrett Hampson led off the sixth with a single, Charlie Blackmon and Story walked, and McMahon hit a three-run double off the center-field wall, missing a grand slam by a few feet. McMahon has hit a career-high 30 doubles, easily surpassing the 22 he hit in 2019.
Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers suffered a scary moment in the first inning when he was hit in the helmet by a 92.2 mph fastball by Gray. The Rockies announced during the game that Rodgers had passed all concussion protocols.
Gray’s pitch hit Rodgers squarely on the left side of his helmet and he quickly dropped to the ground. Rodgers was attended to by team trainers and then walked off the field, but he was removed from the game.
Marquez, hardly resembling the pitcher who posted a 3.36 ERA in his first 19 starts to earn his first trip to the All-Star Game, was gone after five innings. The Nationals tagged him for four runs on six hits and he needed 90 pitches to get through what was likely his final start of the 2021 season.
Marquez has a 6.12 ERA in five starts in September and a 6.21 ERA in his 13 starts after the all-star break. When he was at his best this season, Marquez went 6-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 11 starts in June and July.