Mariners 1st half ends with Rocky Mountain slide

July 15th, 2018

DENVER -- A Mariners team that made a living on one-run wins in the first half saw that script flipped Sunday in a 4-3 loss to the Rockies and now heads to the All-Star break looking to regroup from a four-game losing streak.

Though the Mariners finished the first half with the fourth-best record in the Majors at 58-39, they were swept by the Rockies to wrap up a 1-5 road trip, and now will take four days off before resuming play Friday in Seattle.

Seattle is still an MLB-leading 26-12 in one-run games, but Colorado won this one on a walk-off home run by to lead off the bottom of the ninth against Nick Vincent. The Rockies roll into the break having won 13 of 16, including five of six against Seattle, to pull back into the National League West race at 51-45.

The Mariners remain five back of the Astros in the American League West, but are suddenly looking in the rear-view mirror at the A's, who have won 21 of their last 26 to pull three back of Seattle in the chase for the second AL Wild Card spot.

"I'm proud of the way the guys have competed in the first half. This is not going to be easy," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "When you're trying to put something behind you -- we haven't been in the playoffs in a long time -- there are going to be some challenges along the way. You find out what you're made of. I know what this club is made of, and I like our chances."

Dee Gordon gave Seattle a 3-2 lead in the seventh, slapping a single to left that scored . But the Rockies immediately re-tied the game in the bottom of the seventh when ripped a shot down the first-base line off reliever that turned into a triple when right fielder Mitch Haniger slipped on the rain-soaked grass.

"It was tough, but you've got to get through it," Haniger said of the wet conditions. "It's tough for both sides. Looking back on it, maybe I should have been a little more cautious, but you're trying to make plays. … Unfortunately, I slipped, and the guy gets an extra base."

Instead of what would have been a double, that set up the tying sacrifice fly to left by Chris Iannetta. It was that kind of road trip for the Mariners, who welcome the upcoming time off.

"We all need a break. We've played hard this first half and we've played well, too," said Gordon, who went 2-for-5 with a run and RBI. "Everybody needs a break. We're going to enjoy it, recharge our batteries and get ready for the second half."

Haniger -- one of four Mariners headed to Tuesday's All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. -- went 2-for-4 and drove in a run in Seattle's two-run first against Rockies starter , but that was the only damage mustered in six innings against the lefty.

Mike Leake matched Anderson in the rain-soaked duel, as he finished the first half at 8-6 with a 4.22 ERA after allowing six hits and two runs (one earned) in six innings. Both runs came in the third when hit an RBI single and Charlie Blackmon raced all the way from first to score the tying run when Haniger mishandled the ball in the wet grass in right field.

Leake said the wet conditions didn't hurt him, however. Instead, he welcomed the rain while pitching in notoriously tough conditions at Coors.

"It might have helped a little just to get some moisture in the air. Usually, it's pretty dry," said Leake. "Today was definitely more on point with my location than the last couple games."


Story's walk-off homer settled matters as he drove a 2-2 cutter from Vincent over the fence in center, a 434-foot shot, per Statcast™. It was Story's first career walk-off hit.

"The ball was up," Servais said. "Nick pitches up, it just didn't cut and get in a good spot. He left it in the middle of the plate. They're going really good right now. I remember back when we were going like that at one point. That's what teams do. You get the emotion and ride the wave. We can do that as well as anybody else. Unfortunately, we ran into a buzzsaw here in Colorado." 


"The break couldn't come at a better time for us. Unfortunately, we kind of limped into it. But I'm really proud of our club. We've had a really nice first half to the season and the guys continue to compete all the time. We had a good chance to win this today and get off on a little bit of a high note. But, we've put ourselves in position to be in a good spot down the stretch in the second half and get where we ultimately want to go, which is into the playoffs. This team certainly has the talent to do that." -- Servais


After the four-day All-Star break, the Mariners will resume play Friday at 7:10 p.m. PT against the White Sox at Safeco Field. (5-1, 3.63 ERA) is expected to be on the mound to kick off the second half, followed by on Saturday and on Sunday.