The Colorado Rockies were in uncharted territory, having struck out 24 times without working a single walk through 10 innings of their game against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. But that was not enough to dismay them on their way to a 5-4 victory in 11 innings.
"This is how our guys are built," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "The resolve that they have over the long haul is really, really good stuff."
A pair of walks to set up a go-ahead single by Mark Reynolds was the eventual difference, and now the Rockies find themselves in position to finish off a two-game road sweep when they face the Red Sox again Wednesday night.
Right-hander German Marquez (4-2, 3.43 ERA) is scheduled to start for Colorado, while left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 4.53) gets the nod for Boston.
Red Sox ace Chris Sale struck out a career-high 17 Rockies through seven innings - a major league record - before ceding to the bullpen in Tuesday's loss, which snapped a five-game Boston winning streak.
After the game, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was questioned about replacing Sale, who had thrown 108 pitches but struck out eight of the last 10 men he faced, with a reliever, but the skipper remained focused on the big picture.
"I think he understands," Cora said of Sale. "We need this guy to pitch deep into the season, so you've got to be disciplined."
Brandon Workman, who hadn't given up a hit in his last 11 appearances, served up a go-ahead two-run home run to Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, and Boston rallied to tie the score in the bottom of the eighth before ultimately falling in extras.
"It sucks, honestly, but I think we had the right matchups going into that inning," Cora said. "It is what it is. We show up tomorrow and go play again."
Like Sale, who has seen his ERA drop from 8.50 to 4.24 over his last five starts, Rodriguez has been on a similar roll for the Red Sox. Boston has won each of the 26-year-old's last six starts, and he's 4-0 with a 2.78 ERA in that span.
Rodriguez threw seven scoreless innings against the Seattle Mariners his last time out. He will face the Rockies for the first time in his career.
Marquez, 24, has been steady all season for Colorado, and he worked around 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings to allow just two runs in a win over the San Diego Padres in his last start. Marquez has similarly never faced Boston.
The Rockies have won four of their last five games, with Blackmon (11-game hitting streak) and Nolan Arenado (.435 average, five home runs in May) leading the charge. Their 87 runs scored this month lead the National League.
The Red Sox had won 11 of 13 prior to Tuesday's loss. J.D. Martinez has four homers in his last six games following a 15-game drought, and Rafael Devers has eight RBIs in his last four contests.