The last time the Rockies won consecutive games — an eon ago on June 20 — Nolan Arenado blasted a cycle-capping walk-off home run.
Since then, they wandered a desert trail of ordinary, never pitching well enough to match the bats or never slugging when the arms were slinging. They sank from first place to third in the National League West.
On Monday back at Coors Field, that oasis of good times, the Rockies jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 9-6 victory over the San Diego Padres.
Colorado finally, won a second game in a row, after romping the Mets in New York, 13-4 on Sunday.
BOX SCORE: Rockies 9, Padres 6
“It’s nice to be home,” left fielder Ian Desmond said. “Home cooking is always good.”
Gerardo Parra and Charlie Blackmon each hit solo home runs, Trevor Story knocked in three runs, and 22-year-old rookie right-hander German Marquez (7-4) struck out nine Padres hitters as everything fell together.
“Just play hard and happy — it’s a game,” Parra said, when asked the key to rounding into form.
Two victories does not make a streak. But the Rockies have a hole to dig out from, and consecutive wins are a step up. They are 11 games in the wake of the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, but the Rockies (54-41) moved 12 1/2 games ahead of the fourth-place Padres (40-52), who had won two in a row and seven of 10 coming in.
This is the Rockies’ lot: Their chances to win the West are fading toward black, but the playoffs are very much in play. They are sitting strong in a wild-card spot. But after losing 15-of-20 games since Arenado’s highlight-reel homer way back when, Colorado’s hold on the postseason became tenuous.
“It’s still too early to be looking at the standings,” Desmond said. “We have some things to address and it looks like we are.”
What they hope will be a turnaround started Monday from the jump. After Marquez struck out Manuel Margot and Wil Myers in the first, Blackmon led off the bottom half with a towering, 451-foot shot off the third deck facade in right field, his team-leading 22nd homer.
Story’s two-run double in the third helped the Rockies bat around their order in a five-run frame, giving them a 7-2 lead. Parra’s looper to the left-field seats in the seventh made it 8-3.
The Padres cut the lead to 8-6 in the top of the eighth as Colorado needed four relievers to get through the inning, but DJ Lemahieu’s sacrifice fly brought home Pat Valaika with a big insurance run in the bottom half for a three-run lead.
Rockies closer Greg Holland finished it out from there for his 29th save in 30 chances.
Marquez gave up a two-run homer in the second to light-hitting Jabari Blash, a right fielder who was hitting .195 with two homers coming in. But Marquez quickly settled in, forcing an inning-ending double play groundout to Arenado in the third. He struck out five batters from the fourth and through the sixth innings, setting up a well-placed fastball with a roundhouse curve.
“With any starting pitcher, it starts with fastball command,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “And he has a nice breaking pitch that he’s been able to throw for strikes. The fastball-curve combo, when he’s on, it’s impressive. He can shut down a lineup.”