DENVER (AP) Germán Márquez tried to work through the tightness he was feeling in the middle of his right forearm.

After all, the Colorado Rockies starter was pitching, in his words, “super good." Catcher Elias Díaz, though, convinced him to call it a night. Take the cautious route.

Márquez pitched five strong innings before exiting, Alan Trejo tied a career-high with three hits and the Rockies beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4 on Monday.

“I think I’ll be all right, be OK,” Márquez said. “Just tightness.”

The 28-year-old Márquez (2-1) was warming up for the sixth inning when Díaz saw a look on Márquez's face that brought him to the mound.

“I say, ‘Is something wrong here?’” Díaz said. “I was like, ‘Let’s just stop here.’”

After a visit from the trainer and manager Bud Black, Márquez exited to a cheer from the crowd after an outing in which he allowed two runs and struck out four.

The hard-throwing righty now has 979 career strikeouts, which is six away from tying Jorge De La Rosa’s mark for most K’s in Rockies history.

“I was commanding everything good,” said Márquez, who wasn't sure if he would miss a start. “I felt it and I had to be worried about it.”

In 2019, Márquez was shut down in August due to pain in his elbow. He said this was nothing like that.

“Just precaution," he said.

Colorado got production from the bottom of its lineup with young shortstop Ezequiel Tovar producing a pair of doubles while Trejo added three singles and two RBIs.

“The guys at the bottom want to pull their weight, too," Black said. “Good stuff.”

It was another quick one with the game lasting 2 hours, 14 minutes. Colorado has yet to have a game go longer than three hours.

Steven Matz (0-2) struggled for a second straight start, allowing six runs and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings. He surrendered four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Braves last week.

Jordan Walker singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. It’s the longest by a rookie to start their career in Cardinals history.

“I haven’t thought about it,” Walker said of the mark. “A little frustrating day. ... As long as I keep putting the ball in play, things will work out. That’s kind of my mindset right now.”

Nolan Arenado's nine-game hitting streak was halted as he returned to Coors Field. He dazzled with his glove, though, starting a pair of double plays for the Cardinals. Arenado earned eight Gold Gloves over his eight seasons (2013-20) with the Rockies.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Lars Nootbaar (bruised left thumb) took between 40 and 50 swings in the batting cage Monday. “Pretty happy with how it went,” Nootbaar said. “I just talked to some of the trainers and we’re marking it down as a positive day.”

Rockies: Closer Daniel Bard turned in another solid bullpen session. Bard’s on the injured list due to anxiety. “He’s doing well, doing great,” Black said. “No timetable.” ... OF Randal Grichuk (bilateral sports hernia) is slated to play in an extended spring training game Tuesday.

ARENADO’S RETURN

Arenado said it's beginning to feel more and more like just another game when he returns to Coors Field. That’s because only a few players are left on the roster from his days in Colorado.

He was traded to the Cardinals before the 2021 season - along with cash - for Austin Gomber, Elehuris Montero and prospects.

“It feels like it was so long ago, but it really wasn’t that long ago,” Arenado said before the game. “It’s a little weird. But I definitely get some good feelings back.”

UP NEXT

Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland (2-0, 0.00 ERA) has yet to allow a run over 12 2/3 innings heading into his third start of the season Tuesday against St. Louis. The Cardinals will throw righty Miles Mikolas (0-1, 9.64)

---

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.