SEATTLE -- The magic that has been seen so often at Safeco Field this season was missing Friday -- as was much of the Mariners' offense -- as the Rockies rolled to a 7-1 victory in the Interleague series opener.
"That was a dud," acknowledged Mariners manager Scott Servais. "Unfortunately, that happens once in a while."
It hasn't happened often to these Mariners, however. The six-run deficit was the their largest margin of defeat since a 9-3 loss to the Red Sox on June 17, and they've only lost three games all season -- all in the first 17 games back in April -- by larger margins.
Denard Span went 3-for-4 with a home run, but the rest of the Mariners stayed silent as Seattle suffered just its second setback in the last 11 games. Felix Hernandez took the loss in a five-inning outing that dropped him to 8-7 with a 5.13 ERA.
Hernandez has overcome a number of slow starts this season, but his hitters didn't help out this time as German Marquez -- a 23-year-old from Venezuela -- threw six innings of one-run ball to help Colorado (45-43) win for the seventh time in its past eight games.
The Rockies tallied three times in the first two frames against Hernandez, including a solo homer by Charlie Blackmon in the first and an RBI triple by catcher Tony Wolters in the second. Wolters wound up with two triples on the night after coming into the game with just three in 621 plate appearances in his three-year career.
"Felix had a hard time putting anybody away tonight," said Servais. "His stuff didn't have much crispness to it or any real bottom to the changeup. It was a rough night. He struggled to get through five innings.
"We have to wash this one away. We didn't play a good ballgame, all the way around. We made some mistakes and just weren't sharp. It just wasn't our night."
Hernandez has been bothered since prior to his last start by a tight back, but insisted that wasn't an issue, even though he'd been limited in his work all week.
"It wasn't a factor at all," said the veteran right-hander. "The first two innings, every pitch I threw was up. I made a mistake to Blackmon and he hit it out. After that, I made my adjustment and made some better pitches. But I wasn't sharp at all. I had a good sinker, but couldn't put it in good places."
The Mariners could only muster Span's solo homer in the sixth. That would have been a two-run shot, but Dee Gordon was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch moments earlier.
Gordon wound up being taken out of the game after twisting his hip awkwardly on that play. The Mariners already were missing catcher Mike Zunino, who just went on the 10-day disabled list with a bone bruise on his ankle, and right fielder Mitch Haniger (bruised knee).
With the Astros beating the White Sox for their fourth straight win, the Mariners dropped 2 1/2 games back in the American League West chase at 56-33. But with the A's losing, they're still 7 1/2 games ahead of Oakland for the second AL Wild Card position.
Hernandez's first-inning ERA is now 9.95 in 19 starts and six of the 15 homers he's given up this season have come in the first frame. His ERA in the second inning and beyond is 4.07.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Gordon continued flashing the leather at second base -- and raising questions of just what the Mariners will do with Robinson Cano when he returns from his 80-game suspension in five weeks -- with a diving stop of a hard grounder up the middle by Gerardo Parra in the third. The play likely saved a run for Hernandez, as Trevor Story had just stolen second and was poised to score if the ball got past Gordon.
HE SAID IT
"Those walls don't move. I try to tell our guys that. Ben goes after it. He plays 100 percent every time he's out there and thinks he can make every catch. That's what we want our guys to think. He did hit the wall pretty hard, but he's OK." -- Servais, on Ben Gamel slamming into the fence trying to run down Wolters' first triple in the second inning
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Gordon appeared to have his 23rd stolen base in the first inning, which would have moved him into a tie for the Major League lead. But after a review, the safe call at second was overturned, as shortstop Story applied the tag on Gordon's thigh just before his foot reached the bag. Gordon has now been thrown out seven times in 29 stolen-base attempts on the year.
James Paxton (8-2, 3.39 ERA) is coming off eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball with 11 strikeouts in a 1-0 win over the Royals and now takes on Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland (8-6, 3.25) in Saturday's 1:10 p.m. PT game at Safeco. Paxton is 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA in two career starts vs. Colorado.