Marquis throws 86 pitches in complete-game victory

LOS ANGELES -- If the Colorado Rockies are going to catch the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, they'll need more of what Jason Marquis gave them Tuesday night against the team with baseball's best record.

Marquis pitched a two-hitter to become the league's first 10-game winner, leading the resurgent Rockies to a 3-0 victory. The 30-year-old right-hander also hit a two-run single and outpitched Chad Billingsley in a matchup of potential All-Stars.

"It definitely was fun to pitch a game like that," Marquis said. "I just tried to attack the bottom of the strike zone and get early swings. I was executing better than I have probably all year, and obviously you saw the results."

Marquis (10-5) tied Kevin Slowey, Zack Greinke, Roy Halladay and Tim Wakefield for the major league lead in wins, facing two batters more than the minimum and throwing just 86 pitches in his third career shutout. The complete game was his sixth in 214 career starts and second this season.

"That was something special," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "In the seven-plus years I've sat behind a desk like this, that's the first time I've seen a starting pitcher throw a nine-inning, complete-game shutout and do it with less than 90 pitches. And a lot of that had to do with the way he pounded the strike zone early in the count with his fastball."

Marquis did not issue a walk and retired 19 consecutive batters between James Loney's one-out single in the second and Juan Castro's two-out single in the eighth. He became the fourth pitcher in club history to win 10 games before the All-Star break, joining Kevin Ritz (1996), Shawn Chacon (2003) and Aaron Cook (2008).

It was quite a turnaround for Marquis, who allowed seven earned runs over 3 1/3 innings last Wednesday against the Angels in Anaheim. He is 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA in his last eight starts against the Dodgers going back to Sept. 4, 2004.

"A pro of his caliber who throws up a stinker like he did the other day over in Anaheim and then bounces back like he did tonight says everything there is to say about who this guy is and what a great pro he is," Tracy said.

Brad Hawpe homered for the Rockies, who set a franchise record for wins in a month with 21.

Colorado was 14 games behind the Dodgers on May 27 after getting swept in a three-game series at Chavez Ravine and outscored 31-13.

Two days later, Clint Hurdle was fired as manager and Tracy took over. The Rockies are 24-8 since, and they climbed within 7½ games of first place following their 21st victory in 25 games.

The Rockies' surge is reminiscent of the team's 21-1 run to the 2007 World Series. Colorado has gone from 10 games under .500 to five above, winning 14 of 17 on the road.

"Tracy talked to us and told us what he wanted out of us," Marquis said. "He told guys to be held more accountable for their actions, positive and negative, and guys responded to that real well. We're playing baseball the way it should be played and we're having fun. Tracy's definitely had an effect on a lot of these young guys."

Billingsley (9-4) gave up three runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings and tied a season high with 11 strikeouts -- two more than he had in his previous three starts combined. He threw 118 pitches.

"Billingsley was great," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said after his team's fifth loss in seven games. "He went after it tonight and certainly pitched well enough to win. He battled as he always does, and his command was much better than it has been recently."

The right-hander, coming off consecutive no-decisions in which he was staked to a lead of three or more runs both times, matched zeros with Marquis through three innings before Hawpe homered in the fourth.

Marquis gave himself some breathing room in the seventh, stroking a bases-loaded single to left after a two-out walk to Chris Iannetta. Marquis is a .207 career hitter with 46 RBIs and five home runs.

"That's the fun part," he said. "I take pride in what I do, and I enjoy hitting. I feel like I'm a hitter when I'm at the plate. Billingsley is a tough guy, but we were able to work a few counts and got guys on base. He just left a ball up, and I was able to get some decent wood on it."

Game notes
The first six innings were played in 73 minutes. ... The Rockies are a major league-best 29-6 when scoring first. ... Dodgers 2B Orlando Hudson, 1 for 15 against Marquis, got the night off. So did Rockies 3B Garrett Atkins, who is 1 for 17 against Billingsley. ... The Rockies became the first NL team with 19 wins from their starting rotation in one month since the 1985 New York Mets.