05/02/09 8:13 PM ET
Marquis' complete game carries Rox
Righty goes the distance as Spilborghs knocks pair out
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Rockies starter Jason Marquis threw a complete-game five-hitter in a 5-1 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park in front of 30,166. The right-hander struck out four and walked one for his fifth career complete game and Colorado's fourth victory in the past six games.
Also, Ryan Spilborghs hit two home runs and had four hits, and Brad Hawpe added a home run in his first game since suffering a neck contusion when he was hit in the neck with a thrown ball on Monday night. The three home runs and all of the runs came off Giants starter Matt Cain, who had not given up more than two runs in any of his previous five starts.
Marquis has emerged as the veteran leader the Rockies sought when they traded reliever Luis Vizcaino to the Cubs for him during the offseason. Marquis has pitched at least seven innings in all but one of his five starts, and nearly had the team's first complete-game shutout. Pablo Sandoval's leadoff homer in the ninth ended the bid.
No. 1 starter Aaron Cook has begun finding his form in his past two starts, and the Rockies' No. 2, Ubaldo Jimenez, is hoping an encouraging effort in Friday night's loss is a sign of better pitching. Marquis has been Colorado's most consistent pitcher. As the team's oldest starter at 30, he is feeding off a faith that he could never earn with his previous clubs -- the Braves, Cardinals and Cubs.
"I don't have to look over my shoulder if something goes wrong," Marquis said. "I'm not out there pitching game-to-game not to get skipped. I don't feel like if I make a mistake, there are going to be two guys warming up in the fourth or fifth inning.
"Not only the teammates, but the coaching staff, manager and front office are behind me 100 percent. That's big, not only for me, but for young guys coming up not to feel that added pressure, 'I have to get it done, or there are consequences.'"
Marquis was not speaking with bitterness for his past teams, who usually had pitchers with more experience. He said there have been times he hasn't pitched as well late in seasons. His club has reached the postseason all nine of the years he has appeared in the Majors -- yet he has pitched in a total of 10 postseason games.
His performance Saturday demonstrates why he figures prominently in the Rockies' hopes to return to the playoffs.
Marquis mixed periodic changeups and cut fastballs to keep hitters off his sinking fastball. He retired the leadoff man in six innings. He finished with 14 ground-ball outs. The only deep fly balls were Sandoval's homer and a Bengie Molina drive to the right-field corner that Hawpe caught immediately after the homer.
"Strike one sets up everything," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "He did throw just enough inside that they weren't diving, leaning out, and the changeup was a very good pitch for him in two-strike situations."
Spilborghs went 3-for-4 with a walk and three runs. He homered on the game's second pitch, and added a two-run shot in the fifth. Spilborghs became the first player with two home runs and two steals in a Major League game since Chris Duffy did it for the Pirates against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sept. 7, 2006.
Todd Helton singled twice, and has had more than one hit in five straight games. It's Helton's fourth career streak of at least five games with multiple hits. His longest streak of multi-hit games was six games, June 28-July 3, 2000.
Garrett Atkins knocked an RBI single off Cain in the third inning to extend his season-best hit streak to seven games.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.