DENVER — Jon Gray returned from a two-week demotion to the minors to pitch effectively into the eighth inning, Carlos Gonzalez homered and the Colorado Rockies extended their strong finish to the season’s first half by beating the Seattle Mariners 4-1 on Saturday night.
Ian Desmond added a one-out RBI triple in the fifth that chased Wade LeBlanc, who lost for the first time in his 22 career starts for Seattle. Nolan Arenado, on his bobblehead night, doubled, singled and drove in a run, helping Colorado win for the ninth time in 11 games heading into Sunday’s final game before the All-Star break.
Colorado clinched its fifth consecutive series win, all of them coming against teams with records above .500. It’s the first time the Rockies have done that in franchise history.
Gray, who had struggled at times with big innings, especially early in his outings, was optioned June 29 to Triple-A Albuquerque in hopes of developing greater consistency in his approach. He made two starts, going 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA before being recalled, and came out strong from the outset.
Gray (8-7) allowed one run on five hits in 7 1/3 innings while striking out six and walking none. He did not allow a hit until Jean Segura singled to start the fourth.
Ryon Healy’s one-out single in the fifth was the only other hit Gray allowed until Ben Gamel singled ahead of Chris Herrmann’s one-out RBI double in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Nelson Cruz beat out an infield single and Gray was relieved by Adam Ottavino, who retired the next two batters to quash the threat.
Wade Davis pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 27th save.
LeBlanc (5-1) allowed four runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings.
The Mariners played well most of the first half but have dropped six of their last eight.
Rockies: 2B D.J. LeMahieu was a late scratch because of lower back tightness. Utillityman Pat Valaika took his place in the starting lineup. . The day after earning his first career win in a relief outing, LHP Harrison Musgrave was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hip flexor strain. LHP Sam Howard was recalled from Albuquerque to fill his roster spot.
RHP Christian Bergman was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma the day after allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 10-7 loss to Colorado on Friday. RHP Matt Festa had his contract from Double-A Arkansas selected by Seattle before the game and made his major league debut when he came on in relief in the fifth inning. Arenado drove his first offering into center field for an RBI single.
Mariners: RHP Mike Leake (8-6, 4.36 ERA) has gone four innings in each of his last two starts after going seven or more innings in seven of his previous 17 outings.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (6-3, 3.76 ERA) has gone 2-0 with a 0.41 ERA over his last three starts.AlertMe