Mariners sweep Rockies
DENVER – The Seattle Mariners found a cure for their road woes – a weekend trip to Coors Field.
Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak hit back-to-back home runs, Blake Beavan tied a season-high with seven strikeouts and the Mariners survived a ninth-inning rally to beat the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
The Mariners were 8-4 on the road after sweeping a series in Detroit last month before losing 13 of their next 14 away from home. They stumbled into Denver having gone 1-9 on the road in May but are heading home with momentum.
“It’s definitely a good way to end the road trip,” Kyle Seager said. “We definitely had some ups and downs along the way but it’s good to end on a high note.”
Coors Field proved to be an oasis, but not without a tense ninth inning. Leading 6-2, closer Brandon League came on and gave up a one-out, pinch-hit homer to Dexter Fowler, his fifth. Eric Young and pinch-hitter Jason Giambi followed with singles, and Carlos Gonzalez knocked in a run with a single to center.
Troy Tulowitzki hit a potential double-play ball to third, but Smoak bobbled the relay at first to keep the inning alive. League struck out Todd Helton with a 96 mph fastball to end the game.
League, who has two blown saves in his last three chances, said he felt good Sunday.
“Besides the home run and the first pitch to Gonzalez I thought my ball was doing what it supposed to do,” he said. “Those aren’t the results you’re looking for but I felt better.”
Mike Carp also homered and Dustin Ackley had two hits for the Mariners.
The Rockies can point to Seattle’s pitching as a source of their troubles. Kevin Millwood no-hit them for 6 2/3 innings before settling for a two-hit shutout Friday. Jason Vargas threw seven strong innings in Saturday’s 10-3 win.
Beavan (2-4) followed those starts with five-plus innings of two-run ball. He gave two runs and seven hits while walking one to get his first win since April 15.
Beavan’s only mistakes were a two-out solo homer to Gonzalez and a two-out RBI single by Jordan Pacheco. He left after giving up a leadoff double to Michael Cuddyer in the sixth, but righty Shawn Kelley got Wilin Rosario to line out and struck out Pacheco and pinch-hitter Tyler Colvin.
“It was good for our bullpen to step up in the sixth inning and get the next three guys out,” Beavan said. “Kelley getting those guys was a big momentum swing in this game.”
Colorado’s Jeremy Guthrie (2-2) allowed three homers in a game for the fifth time in his career.
“Three balls left the ballpark,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “That’s the difference in the game.”
The Mariners jumped out to the early lead for the third straight game. Ackley led off the game with a double, moved to third on fly out and, after a walk to Seager, the two successfully completed a double steal to score the first run. Seager scored on Smoak’s two-out single to make it 2-0.
Gonzalez cut the lead in half with his eighth home run in the bottom of the first before Seattle’s big bats woke up.
With two outs in the third, Montero hit a two-run homer to left, his sixth, and Smoak followed with fifth homer into the front row of the right-field bleachers to make it 5-1.
Pacheco’s RBI single in the fourth made it 5-2 but Carp’s fourth homer off the second deck in right in sixth put Seattle ahead 6-2.
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