DENVER (AP) — Sometimes, Germán Márquez tends to work too fast. Other times, too slow.
In this game, his tempo was just right.
A more measured Márquez pitched six effective innings to help the Colorado Rockies avoid a three-game sweep with a 3-1 win over the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
Márquez (4-5) was in sync even after the leadoff hitter reached in four of his frames. He limited the damage to just a run courtesy of six strikeouts and nine groundball outs.
“I’ve been working a lot on my mechanics,” explained Márquez, who allowed four hits and walked one. “I’m getting the results. I feel happy about it.”
A beleaguered Colorado bullpen bottled up Oakland after Márquez was lifted for a pinch-hitter. Mychal Givens escaped trouble in the seventh and Daniel Bard went two innings to earn his seventh save in 10 chances. The Rockies entered with the second-worst ERA in the league.
“It was amazing,” Márquez said of the bullpen’s performance. “It was fun to watch.”
Raimel Tapia provided the early offense with a two-out RBI single in the third and Brendan Rodgers brought in another on a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Dom Nuñez added an insurance run in the eighth on a sac fly.
James Kaprielian (2-1) went five solid innings in his first time facing Colorado. He allowed two runs, walked three and struck out six.
“I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff again,” Kaprielian said. “Just doing everything I can to keep the team in the game.”
It was a rare off day at the plate for the Athletics during their 4-2 trip. They were 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Over their six-game road stretch, the A’s hit .297 with seven homers and 39 runs scored. Sean Murphy provided the offense Sunday with an RBI double in the sixth.
“We had a lot of great at-bats,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said of the trip. “All around, it was a great road trip. We won all series. So that’s what you’re looking for, continue to win series and maintain first place.”
The turning point was the seventh when the A’s had runners on the corners and one out. Givens struck out Mark Canha and Tony Kemp to keep it a 2-1 game.
Rockies: SS Trevor Story (right elbow) ran the bases before the game. He’s slated to be activated from the injured list on Tuesday. … RHP Jon Gray (right flexor strain) reported less soreness and will accompany the team on its trip. “We feel good about where Jon is,” manager Bud Black said.
HITTIN’ THE ROAD
The Rockies will be on the road for six games. They’re an MLB-worst 4-22 as visitors and have been outscored by a 131-63 margin. Colorado also has been shut out 10 times away from Coors Field this season.
Andrus felt the thin air of the Mile High City, especially on his double in the seventh.
“It’s tough. Every time you come here, you have to pace yourself. You can actually feel the altitude,” Andrus said. “It’s a great ballpark to hit. But it’s something you have to make an adjustment.”
Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon started the fourth with a single up the middle. It was hit No. 1,360 for Blackmon, moving him one away from tying Larry Walker for second on the team’s all-time list.
Todd Helton holds the Rockies record with 2,519 hits.
Athletics: Begin a nine-game homestand Tuesday against Arizona. Righty Chris Bassitt (5-2, 3.53 ERA) will go for the Athletics and righty Jon Duplantier (0-1, 9.35) for the Diamondbacks.
Rockies: After an off day, the Rockies begin a three-game series at Miami on Tuesday. Right-hander Antonio Senzatela (2-5, 4.47) will make his fourth road start.
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