Twins can't bail out Ervin in DH-opening loss

Twins can't bail out Ervin in DH-opening loss

MINNEAPOLIS -- The first-place Rockies took advantage of a rare subpar start for Twins righty Ervin Santana, and German Marquez supported the bats with five innings of one-run ball as Colorado took Game 1 of a doubleheader vs. Minnesota, 5-1, on Thursday at Target Field.

"[Santana] was outstanding as far as the hits-to-innings-pitched ratio, but we had some good at-bats," said Rockies manager Bud Black, who was Santana's pitching coach when he debuted with the Angels in 2005.

Nolan Arenado started things off with a two-out solo homer in the first. According to Statcast™, the ball traveled an estimated 384 feet with an exit velocity of 104 mph. The Rockies added three more runs in the third on a pair of run-scoring hits from Mark Reynolds and Ian Desmond. Charlie Blackmon plated the fifth run with a single in the fourth.

Blackmon's RBI single

All five runs were charged to Santana, who labored through seven innings. He allowed six hits, striking out three and walking four. As a result, Santana's ERA went from 1.50 to 2.07.

"I didn't have my best stuff today, but one good thing I can get out of there is that I was able to throw seven innings," Santana said. "That's good for me and my team, especially when we have a doubleheader."

Santana freezes LeMahieu

Meanwhile, the only blemish for Colorado's Marquez, who earned the victory, came in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly by Brian Dozier. After holding the Cubs scoreless on three hits over eight innings in his last start, Marquez saw the Twins run up his pitch count (101 in five innings), but he didn't break.

"The command wasn't quite there; the approach was the same, but I had to make adjustments and continue to battle," Marquez said in Spanish, with first-base coach Tony Diaz interpreting.

Marquez K's three over five

Streak snapped: Marquez's scoreless streak of 10 consecutive road innings was snapped in the fifth. However, the frame nearly got away from him entirely. Following a one-out triple by Eddie Rosario and a Byron Buxton walk, Dozier put the Twins on board with a sacrifice fly to left. Marquez then walked Joe Mauer before ultimately getting Miguel Sano to pop up on a curveball to end the inning.

Marquez escapes trouble

"We didn't take advantage of the opportunities that we had," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "I think we had some pitches to hit, but you're not always going to hit them. There were some guys that worked some counts fairly well, but we just couldn't come up with that hit." More >

Free pass: The Twins elected to intentionally walk Arenado his second time up in the third inning, which proved to be detrimental. The next batter, Reynolds, smacked a two-seam fastball down the left-field line to drive in two runs. He was later thrown out at home by Max Kepler to end the inning, but Reynolds -- who is among the leaders in the National League in with 35 RBIs -- was a key part in breaking the game completely open.

Reynolds' two-run single

"He's been right there in the middle of it from the start of the season, and I think it's a tribute to Mark, what he's done the last couple of years," Black said.

With four scoreless innings from Chris Rusin, Adam Ottavino, Mike Dunn and Greg Holland -- who fanned the only batter he faced for his Majors-leading 18th save -- the Rockies' bullpen dropped its road ERA to 1.81. Colorado is 13-5 on the road this season.

"I want to dedicate this victory to Venezuela and the situation the country is going through. Besides us, the Rockies, this win goes to Venezuela." -- Marquez, a Valencia, Venezuela, native who has been following the political unrest in his homeland

Rockies: Lefty Tyler Anderson (2-4, 6.43 ERA), with 18 combined strikeouts in his past two starts, will open a three-game set against the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Friday at 5:10 p.m. MT.

Twins: Hector Santiago (4-2, 3.80 ERA) will start the series opener against Kansas City at 7:10 p.m. CT Friday at Target Field. Santiago spun five innings of one-run ball in the win over the Royals earlier this season. Minnesota has won all five meetings against Kansas City this season after going 4-15 in 2016.

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Shane Jackson is a reporter for based in Minneapolis.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.