Cuevas 3-run HR lifts Rockies to 5-1 win against Mariners
SEATTLE — The biggest hit of Noel Cuevas’ young major league career was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt.
The Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners were tied at 1 in the seventh inning Saturday, and the Rockies had two men on and one out when Cuevas came to the plate as the No. 9 hitter. He got the sign for a safety squeeze, but fouled off his first bunt attempt.
Instead, Cuevas hit the next pitch over the left-field fence for a three-run homer, giving the Rockies the lead in what would be a 5-1 win.
“I wasn’t happy at that moment that I missed it. We were trying to get that run in,” Cuevas said. “Next pitch, I can’t remember I just missed a bunt. I need to make sure I’m ready for that pitch and that was it.”
It was the second career home run for Cuevas, who was called up to the Rockies on April 22, and his first since May 14. The three RBI set a career high, and he tied his best mark with three hits in the game. He also had another sacrifice attempt turn into an infield hit to load the bases in the third inning.
Cuevas wasn’t the only one at the bottom of Colorado’s order to have a big day. The Rockies’ No. 6-9 hitters combined to go 9 for 14 with five RBIs.
“All those guys, every one of their at-bats from pitch one, they were ready to hit,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “That’s what I saw, all of them.”
The Rockies won their fifth straight despite facing Seattle’s best starter, James Paxton (8-3). Although Paxton was again overpowering at times, striking out nine, he lost for the second time in three starts. He allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings — marking the third time in four starts Paxton allowed at least that many runs and hits.
“I felt really good today. I had good stuff, I felt like I threw the ball well,” he said. “It was really good other than that one pitch.”
The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Gonzalez. Segura’s seventh homer tied the score in the fifth.
Reliever Scott Oberg (2-0) earned the win by throwing a perfect sixth inning, striking out two.
Colorado starter Kyle Freeland left after five innings, allowing one run and five hits. It was Freeland’s shortest outing since going four innings on April 18 — he had pitched into the sixth inning or later in his previous 13 starts.
Rockies: Colorado recalled INF/OF Jordan Patterson and LHP Jerry Vasto from Triple-A Albuquerque, and C Tom Murphy — who returned to Denver on Friday to be with his wife, Lindsay, for the birth of their second child — was placed on the paternity list.
Mariners: Seattle recalled OF John Andreoli from Triple-A Tacoma and optioned RHP Nick Rumbelow to Tacoma. Andreoli started in left field Saturday and struck out twice before being replaced by Ben Gamel in the sixth.
Rockies: LHP Mike Dunn was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to July 4 with AC joint inflammation. Colorado manager Bud Black said it was unclear how long Dunn might be out. … SS Trevor Story was scratched from the starting lineup with a bruised right foot.
Mariners: Mitch Haniger was back in the starting lineup at right field after missing two games with a bruised right knee. … 2B Dee Gordon was out of the starting lineup after hurting his hip on a play at the plate on Friday, but manager Scott Servais said it was just a day off and the injury wasn’t serious. Gordon entered the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth and popped out to left field.
Before the game, Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano talked with the media about his 80-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug agreement, saying it was the most difficult thing he’s dealt with in his life outside of the death of his grandfather. Cano is eligible to return on August 14, but is ineligible for postseason play and Gordon has excelled defensively at second base in Cano’s absence.
“I’m focused on bringing a title to Seattle so I would do whatever it takes to help this team to win,” Cano said. “At the same time I understand I’m not going to be able to play in the playoffs so you got to give a chance to Dee to go out and play because when we get to the playoffs he’s going to have to come back and play second base.”
Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (3-1, 4.44 ERA) is making his second start after starting the year in the Colorado bullpen. In his first start on Tuesday against the Giants, Senzatela pitched seven scoreless innings.
Mariners: LHP Wade LeBlanc (4-0, 3.19) will make his 13th start of the season. He allowed one run on three hits in seven innings his last time out against the Angels.
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.