Fernando Rodney’s absurd meltdown in the ninth inning allowed Colorado to rally from a 5-3 deficit, score twice and tie the score 5-5. Two innings later, Michael McKenry’s two-run homer into the left-field seats off reliever Mayckol Guaipe gave the Rockies a 7-5, walk-off victory over the Mariners (50-59) Wednesday at Coors Field in Denver. The loss snapped Seattle’s three-game winning streak (box score) and marked its 19th loss this season in an opponent’s final at-bat.
The Mariners practically had it won 5-3 when Rodney, throwing for the fifth time in six days, took over in the ninth inning. But the former closer couldn’t seal the deal, allowing a RBI double to Ben Paulsen and a run-scoring single by Kyle Parker to send the game into extra frames. Rodney threw 21 pitches in his ill-fated ninth, only eight for strikes, and came away with his sixth blown save.
Although Nelson Cruz failed to extend his home-run streak to six consecutive games, he stretched his hitting streak to 16 contests with a 2-for-5 afternoon. A homer would have made Cruz the first since Chris Davis Sept. 22-Oct. 2, 2012 to go deep in six consecutive games.
The Mariners, who took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning on five hits, totaled 23 runs in the three-game series, the most in any three-game set this season. Franklin Gutierrez went 3-for-5, including a two-run homer in the seventh that gave Seattle a 5-3 lead, Gutierrez finished with three hits while Austin Jackson had two.
Top prospect Ketel Marte started at shortstop (first time in his career at that position) in place of Brad Miller and went 0-for-4 with a pair of walks. Hot a week ago, catcher Mike Zunino extended his hitless streak to 0-for-13 and is batting .175. The Mariners had 12 hits, but left 13 runners on base and went 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
Coming off a one-hit, complete-game shutout of Minnesota, Walker worked 7.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Walker’s RBI double in the fourth was his first career hit and the first two-bagger by a Mariners pitcher since Felix Hernandez against San Diego June 12, 2012.
After Carson Smith and Joe Beimel collaborated for a scoreless inning, Rodney was in position to record his first save in more than a month, but couldn’t deliver.
“He left a slider up and hit it with authority. That happens in this ballpark. It’s a shame because I used a thin bullpen and they all came through (except Rodney). This was a tough situation and a tough park” — Lloyd McClendon, Mariners manager, after McKenry’s walk-off homer off Guaipe.
“I didn’t feel like my stuff was really working today. I got the base hit, but it would have been nice to get the win” — Walker.
The Mariners have eight walk-off losses this season and played an American League-high 16 extra-inning games (8-8) . . . The Mariners were trying to match their season-high four consecutive wins, set in May against Oakland and San Diego . . . The Mariners are 28-28 on the road, 11-16-8 in series played and 15-20 in day games. Sixty-two of Seattle’s 109 games have been decided by two or fewer runs . . . Although Vidal Nuno lasted only 3.2 innings in his start against Colorado Tuesday, he will get another turn in the rotation. McClendon said Wednesday that Nuno will probably start against the Baltimore Orioles Monday at Safeco Field.
The Mariners are off Thursday and will start a three-game series with the Texas Rangers Friday at Safeco Field. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (2-2, 4.47) will pitch for Seattle against LHP Cole Hamels (0-0, 1.17), who will make his second start for the Rangers after his acquisition from Philadelphia.