Powerful Mariners hold off Rockies rally

Powerful Mariners hold off Rockies rally

DENVER -- The Mariners clubbed three early homers, scored seven runs over the first three innings and held off the Rockies' late rally, propelling Seattle to an 8-7 win in Monday's series opener at Coors Field.

Robinson Cano, Jesus Montero and Brad Miller delivered RBI hits in a four-run first inning. Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz went back-to-back off Eddie Butler (3-8) to give Seattle a 6-1, second-inning lead. Miller homered in the third, and Butler was gone one inning later, giving up seven hits and a career-high seven runs over just four frames.

"I didn't have a feel for much today," Butler said. "The fastball was really the only thing I could put in the zone with any authority."

Felix Hernandez (13-6), meanwhile, wasn't untouchable as he often is, but the Mariners' ace was able to limit the damage. He lasted 6 2/3 innings and surrendered 11 hits and four runs, tying Houston's Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh atop the American League wins leaderboard. Once Hernandez left the game, though, the Rockies pounced on Seattle's bullpen with three runs in the ninth off a trio of pitchers. However, Charlie Blackmon flew out to end the game with the tying run on third.

Mariners go back-to-back in 2nd

"It was a slugfest," said Miller, who along with Cruz and Seager each went 3-for-4 with a home run. "They kept coming at us, and everybody knew they would. We tried to keep adding on throughout the game. It was crazy, but bottom line, we got it done."

Hernandez fans nine in win


The M&M boys delivered: The Mariners jumped on Butler for four runs in the first, with the big blow coming on a two-run double by Montero. The 25-year-old first baseman has hit .417 (5-for-12) with three doubles, a home run and four RBIs in four games since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma. Miller capped the first inning with an RBI single to score Montero and the Mariners shortstop wound up going 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs.

Reyes' RBI single in home debut

Jose is home: After receiving a nice ovation from the Coors Field faithful in his opening at-bat, newly acquired shortstop Jose Reyes went on to have a productive home debut. He finished 2-for-5 with two singles, a pair of RBIs and a stolen base. He drove in Colorado's first run with a bullet past a diving Cano and delivered a two-out bloop in the fourth that plated Kyle Parker. Reyes did, however, strike out with two men on in the eighth.

"Hopefully, they continue to cheer for me because I'm going to do some good stuff for this team every time I step on the field," Reyes said. More >

Cruz goes back-to-back for 30th

Coors untapped: Seager and Cruz launched back-to-back homers in the second to put Seattle on top, 6-1. Seager's bolt was projected to land 448 feet from home plate by Statcast™, giving him 16 on the year. Seager went 3-for-4 with a double and homer, snapping a string of 43 plate appearances without an extra-base hit. Cruz followed with a projected 408-foot homer, his 30th of the year and Major League-leading 23rd on the road. Cruz also went 3-for-4 and is batting .429 (27-for-63) with four doubles, nine homers and 13 RBIs over a 14-game hit streak.

"He's been pretty special to watch," said Seager. "The consistency and way he's done this, not only right now, but all year, he's been unreal." More >

Paulsen's two-run double

Late-game push: Once again, the Rockies nearly erased eight innings of frustration with a ninth-inning rally. Trailing, 8-4, Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez opened with singles before Ben Paulsen doubled them both home to make it a two-run game. Nick Hundley followed with a one-out single, and Parker did the same to move the tying run to third. But Carson Smith, who entered after Gonzalez reached, struck out pinch-hitter Michael McKenry on four straight sliders and forced the Blackmon popup to lock down his 10th save this season.

"When you're down, 7-1, against one of the best pitchers on the planet, that's a tall task," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "But I'm really proud of our guys. They fight every night until the last out."

"It's going to be a battle no matter what, especially in that situation, in this park, against that team. It's going to be a battle and I went out and battled and finished on top." -- Smith, on getting the save despite giving up three hits and having the tying run on third with two outs in the ninth.

Hernandez's nine strikeouts hiked his career total to 2,091 and moved him past Nolan Ryan for the fourth most in MLB history by a pitcher before the age of 30. The three ahead of him: Walter Johnson, Sam McDowell and Bert Blyleven.

Cruz provides Mariners' power

Mariners: Left-hander Vidal Nuno (0-0, 2.11) makes his first start of the season on Tuesday at 5:40 p.m. PT after pitching 18 games in relief for Seattle since being acquired from the D-backs on June 3. The 28-year-old has 31 career starts with the Yankees and D-backs and is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two previous starts against the Rockies.

Rockies: Heralded prospect Jon Gray will make his Major League debut on Tuesday, becoming the 12th different Colorado pitcher to make a start this season. He is the first Rockies starter to make his MLB debut since Yohan Flande did so on June 25, 2014. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. MT.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Dargan Southard is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.