Cruz homers in 5th straight game, Seattle beats Rockies 10-4
DENVER (AP) Nelson Cruz and the Seattle Mariners spoiled Jon Gray's major league debut with the Colorado Rockies.
Cruz homered for the fifth consecutive game, Rob Rasmussen pitched 1 1-3 innings to earn his first major league win and the Mariners beat the Rockies 10-4 on Tuesday night.
It is the second time this season Cruz has gone deep in five straight games. He also singled to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, four shy of his career best.
''I hope he continues to impress me,'' Seattle manager Lloyd McLendon said.
The Mariners pounded out 14 hits to push their winning streak to three games. It's the first time Seattle has won three in a row since sweeping Tampa Bay from May 25-27.
Rasmussen (1-0) was acquired from Toronto at the trading deadline for starter Mark Lowe. The right-hander made his Seattle debut in Monday's win and he came back Tuesday to get his milestone victory.
''My mom will probably be in tears just out of joy,'' Rasmussen said. ''That's probably when it will hit me, when I call my parents and tell them. Right now it's business as usual.''
Gray, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, had a rough beginning to his big league career. Seattle touched him for two runs during a 33-pitch first inning.
He allowed an unearned run in the fourth on two singles and an error that gave the Mariners a 3-1 lead.
Gray's teammates rallied to keep him out of the loss column. Charlie Blackmon's homer in the first, the 10th leadoff blast of his career, made it 2-1, and Nick Hundley hit a two-run shot to tie it at 3 in the fourth.
Gray allowed three runs - two earned - and five hits, striking out four in four innings.
''It's amazing, it's awesome,'' Gray said of his team's rally ''You want to see your team fight like that. They pick you up as much, just as much as you can pick them up.''
Manager Walt Weiss said the team wants to be cautious using Gray, which is why he was taken out after 77 pitches.
''We got the big picture in mind when you talk about bumping innings from one year to the next,'' Weiss said. ''We don't want to overwhelm him with that. The first inning certainly was a factor.''
Rasmussen came on for starter Vidal Nuno after Drew Stubbs' pinch-hit double in the fourth. He struck out Blackmon to end the inning and then got the Rockies in order in the fifth.
''This kid's got a little moxie about him,'' McLendon said. ''He wasn't afraid, he competed, so I had no trepidation at all putting him in the game.''
Seattle went ahead for good on Franklin Gutierrez's two-run, pinch-hit single in the sixth off reliever Christian Friedrich (0-3). Kyle Parker led off the bottom of the inning with his first major league home run to make it 5-4.
It was the only run the Seattle bullpen allowed in 5 1-3 innings.
''They did a great job in a very tough place to pitch,'' McLendon said.
Cruz answered in the seventh with his 31st off Scott Oberg to give Seattle a 6-4 lead.
''He threw me two fastballs and a slider that I barely touched,'' Cruz said. ''I just swung hard.''
The Mariners blew it open with a three-run eighth.
Colorado's DJ LeMahieu bounced back from striking out five times Monday with two hits.
HITLESS NO MORE
Nuno's RBI single in the fourth snapped an 0-for-51 hitless streak by Mariners pitchers. It is an MLB record for most consecutive hitless at-bats by pitchers in Interleague play.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (right elbow inflammation) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday that Weiss said was ''encouraging.'' Bettis will throw a 45-pitch bullpen session Friday in Washington and face live hitting Aug. 11. ... An MRI on RHP Kyle Kendrick's right shoulder on Monday revealed no structural damage, just inflammation.
Mariners: RHP Taijuan Walker (8-7, 4.73) is coming off his best start of the season. The 22-year-old Walker tossed a one-hitter in a 6-1 win over Minnesota on Friday.
Rockies: LHP Chris Rusin (3-4, 4.61) is seeking his first win since June 21. He is 0-2 with a 4.21 ERA in his past seven games, six starts.