Cruz hits 30th homer, Mariners beat Rockies 8-7
DENVER (AP) Once again, Felix Hernandez came back strong after a loss.
Hernandez pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Nelson Cruz homered in a fourth consecutive game to reach 30 for the season, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Colorado Rockies 8-7 on Monday night.
Bouncing back from a rough start last time out - Hernandez allowed seven runs in Seattle's 8-2 loss to Arizona last week - the Mariners' ace went 6 2-3 innings and allowed four runs and 11 hits. He improved to 8-0 with a 1.65 ERA in 12 starts following a loss since the beginning of last season.
''When you're not doing a good job, like I did last time, you just want to go out there (next time out) and have a good game,'' Hernandez said. ''My mindset was just go out there and give the team a chance to win.''
Cruz said the Mariners got the outing they were counting on from Hernandez.
''That's him,'' Cruz said. ''We've seen him do that before after a rough start. He's one of the best in the league.''
Hernandez (13-6) struck out nine and walked one in his first career appearance at hitter-friendly Coors Field, allowing the Mariners to build a big enough lead to withstand the Rockies' three-run, ninth-inning rally.
Carson Smith induced a game-ending fly out from Charlie Blackmon for his 10th save.
''At the end their bullpen was shaky; we just had a really rough first couple of innings,'' Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez said. ''You kind of expect that when you face (Hernandez). He was hitting spots and making you chase around the strike zone. We were able to get him out of the game. We battled and gave him a tough time and came up short.''
Kyle Seager homered on the front end of back-to-back shots with Cruz, and Brad Miller added a solo shot among his three hits for the Mariners, who have won three of four since dropping four straight.
Jose Reyes, in his first appearance at Coors Field since being acquired by Colorado in the trade deadline deal that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto, had two RBI singles. Blackmon added four hits, including two doubles.
Seattle jumped on Eddie Butler with a four-run first highlighted by Jesus Montero's two-run double. Butler (3-8) went four innings and allowed seven runs and seven hits, including three homers, in losing a third straight decision. All of the runs he allowed scored with two outs.
Seager and Cruz went back-to-back in the second inning to put Seattle up 6-1. Cruz's homer extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Miller connected for his ninth of the season in the third.
After Blackmon's RBI double in the sixth pulled the Rockies within 7-4, Robinson Cano doubled in the top of the seventh to drive in his second run of the game.
Rockies 2B D.J. LeMahieu struck out five times, becoming the third player in team history to do that. The others were Gonzalez, July 18, 2014, at Pittsburgh and Roberto Mejia, Aug. 9, 1993, at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Mariners: Cano was back in the starting lineup at 2B after missing time due to a Grade 1 abdominal strain.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, his first since going on the 15-day DL on July 19, because of right elbow inflammation.
Mariners: LHP Vidal Nuno (0-0) will make his first start for Seattle since being acquired from Arizona in early June as part of a six-player trade.
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (0-0), Colorado's top draft pick and third player taken in the 2013 draft, is slated to make his major league debut Tuesday. He went 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in six starts last month for Triple-A Albuquerque.