Díaz comes through again, Rox rally for 3-2 win over Cards

Sports

Colorado Rockies’ Elias Diaz connects for a walkoff RBI-single off St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Alex Reyes in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 4, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — Germán Márquez figured his day was done when he spotted his manager approaching in the dugout.

Didn’t surprise him.

Bud Black had a little extra news, though — Márquez was an All-Star.

Now that caught the Colorado right-hander by complete surprise.

Elías Díaz delivered a two-out run-scoring single in the ninth on an afternoon Márquez struck out 11 and was picked for his first All-Star team, helping the Rockies rally for a 3-2 win Sunday over the St. Louis Cardinals.

“A very emotional moment,” Márquez said through a translator of being an All-Star. “Very grateful.”

The fans showed their appreciation with a standing ovation for Márquez late in the game.

They were just getting revved up for later.

Díaz sent a 3-2 pitch from All-Star closer Alex Reyes (5-3) into left and Joshua Fuentes, who had reached on a single and advanced on a wild pitch, beat the throw home with a head-first dive.

It got real loud, real fast. Díaz was mobbed in the outfield by teammates as the Rockies won for the third time in four games against St. Louis. Díaz also lifted the Rockies with a three-run homer in the ninth on Thursday.

“It’s huge to take three out of four against a good caliber team like that,” said Márquez, who went six efficient innings in the no decision.

Trevor Story tied the game at 2-apiece with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Story added a solo homer in the first.

Rockies reliever Justin Lawrence (1-0) earned the win by pitching out of a jam in the ninth. He got pinch-hitter Yadier Molina to ground into an inning-ending double play.

St. Louis has lost 22 of 33 games following a 30-22 start. Runs were at a premium in this four-game series, with St. Louis outscoring the Rockies by a 15-14 margin.

That’s sometimes the score of one game.

“You always think you’re coming in here and it’s going to be a complete slugfest,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “Gave ourselves more than a chance to compete in every game. … Game of inches and game of placement. Neither one went our way today.”

Márquez kept the Cardinals off-balance in striking out a season-high 11. Harrison Bader was the only one to solve Márquez, lining a knuckle-curve on an 0-2 count over the fence in left for a two-run homer in the second.

The hard-throwing righty was coming off a gem against Pittsburgh last Tuesday when he took a no-hit bid into the ninth before allowing a leadoff single.

Márquez has pitched most of the season like an All-Star, which will be on his home field on July 13,after he earned a spot Sunday. Márquez became the first Rockies starter to make the All-Star team since Ubaldo Jiménez in 2010.

Márquez got the best of fellow All-Star and former teammate Nolan Arenado, striking him out twice.

Arenado, who played eight seasons in Colorado, didn’t have the most productive return to Coors Field. Over the four-game series, he went 2 for 14 with no homers or RBIs. Arenado did receive a round of applause before stepping into the batter’s box Sunday — and will be back to the park for the All-Star Game.

Carlos Martínez was cruising along until one out in the fourth when trainers came out to check on him. Martínez was taken out due to a bruised right thumb he suffered while at the plate.

“Tough predicament,” Shildt said. “Carlos was throwing well.”

Story’s homer in the first was his sixth in 12 games. The Rockies shortstop is finding his swing just in time for the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game next week.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O’Neill (finger) was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game. “Improved,” Shildt said pregame. “We’ll see how much better.”

Rockies: LHP Austin Gomber (forearm tightness) threw a bullpen session Sunday morning.

FIREWORKS

The Cardinals fell to 94-95-2 on the Fourth of July dating to 1892. The Rockies improved to 11-17 on the holiday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Begin a three-game series at San Francisco on Monday. The Cardinals will throw lefty Kwang Hyun Kim (2-5, 3.79).

Rockies: Off Monday before a six-game trip that starts in Arizona. The Rockies are a major league-worst 6-31 on the road this season.

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