Nolan Arenado clubbed his 30th home run and the Colorado Rockies extended their winning streak to four games with a 5-1 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.
Arenado, starting as the designated hitter because of his sore right shoulder, drilled a 96 mph fastball from Astros right-hander Justin Verlander (11-8) the opposite way to right field with two outs in the sixth inning and Carlos Gonzalez on first base following his bloop single to center. The struggling Astros had claimed a 1-0 lead a half-inning earlier only to surrender it in short order and extend their losing skid at Minute Maid Park to nine games.
Colorado improved to 12-5 on the season in interleague play. The Rockies claimed the final two games of their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend in walk-off fashion.
Given the strong pitching of right-hander German Marquez (10-9), no such heroics were required this time around.
Marquez worked around baserunners in the first, second and third innings, inducing double plays off the bats of Evan Gattis and Martin Maldonado to sidestep trouble in the second and third. After retiring the side in the fourth, Marquez surrendered consecutive hits to open the fifth, with Astros right fielder Josh Reddick plating first baseman Yuli Gurriel with an RBI single after Gurriel delivered a leadoff triple to right-center field.
Marquez quickly reclaimed control. He retired six consecutive batters following the Reddick hit, and with Marwin Gonzalez (double) and Reddick on base in the seventh with one out, Marquez retired Gattis and Kyle Tucker on one pitch apiece. He completed his ledger allowing three hits and two walks and fanned seven.
Verlander, who struck out 11 while allowing two runs on six hits over six innings, surrendered three singles over his first five innings and set down Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu with haste to open the sixth. But in a flash, Verlander surrendered the lead with Arenado’s long ball.
Verlander recorded his fourth outing this season with 10-plus strikeouts and no walks. The Astros fell to 1-3 in those starts.
Rockies shortstop Trevor Story added a solo home run in the eighth, his 25th. First baseman Ian Desmond tripled and scored in the ninth as Colorado scored thrice against the Houston bullpen.
—Field Level Media