Rockies’ young ace faces Diamondbacks in series finale

DENVER — The high praise came Tuesday night after German Marquez made his last start for the Colorado Rockies and still resonates.

Jonathan Lucroy was behind the plate as Marquez gave up three hits and one run to the Detroit Tigers in 6 1/3 innings with one walk and a career-high-tying 10 strikeouts.

In his efficient outing, Marquez (10-5, 4.18 ERA) threw 63 of 87 pitches for strikes. The Rockies won 7-3.

Marquez, 22, did not figure in the decision. After the game, Lucroy offered some memorable veteran perspective about Marquez, who will start Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks and try to prevent them from sweeping the three-game series.

“He’s the best pitcher I’ve ever caught at that age, his age,” Lucroy said. “I keep thinking about his last name — Marquez. I think ‘Marquee,’ when I look at his name. He’s a marquee pitcher. He’s going to be. I really believe that. He’s going to continue to get better.

“Not many guys throw a ball like he does. I’ve been privileged to be around a lot and the ball comes out of his hand a little different. He’s just going to continue to get better. I’m telling you, this kid is going to be special.”

Marquez, who will start against Zack Godley (6-7, 3.29), is 6-2 with a 4.48 ERA in 11 starts at home, with the Rockies going 9-2 in those games. He is 6-0 with a 3.24 ERA in his past nine starts at home, all of which the Rockies have won, and is 0-1 with a 3.16 ERA in five games (four starts) against Arizona.

Godley is 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA in his past four road starts with 27 strikeouts and 10 walks in 23 1/3 innings in those games.

In addition to trying to sweep the series, the Diamondbacks, who lead the Colorado Rockies by 5 1/2 games for the first wild-card spot in the National League, will be seeking their 10th straight victory.

Right fielder J.D. Martinez again played a major role in the offense in Arizona’s 6-2 win on Saturday. He drove in four runs, three on a first-inning home run that was his 30th overall and 14th since joining the Diamondbacks on July 18 in a trade with Detroit for three minor league infielders.

In 39 games with the Diamondbacks, Martinez is hitting .239 with seven 14 home runs and 34 RBIs, and has fit in well in the fifth spot in their lineup.

“He lengthens our lineup,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “He hits right in back of Paul Goldschmidt, so if they’re going to try and work around Goldy there’s a really good chance he’s going to come up with men in scoring position.”

Diamondbacks catcher Chris Herrmann said of Martinez, “I feel like every time J.D. steps in the box, something good is going to happen. He’s such a threat at the plate.

“I know the opposing team is probably intimidated by him, just knowing that he has a chance to hit a home run each and every at-bat has to be tough on those guys. They have to make quality pitches, and if they don’t, he’s going to make it hurt.

“He’s been fantastic. Just watching him, I feel like it’s helped me, honestly. Watching how he drives the ball the other way and stays through the baseball is something I want to do for myself also.

“He’s a very technical guy when it comes to hitting the baseball. I think everybody on this team could learn something from him.”