McKenry's walk-off blast in 11th tops Mariners

McKenry's walk-off blast in 11th tops Mariners

DENVER -- Catcher Michael McKenry cracked a two-out, two-run walk-off homer in the 11th inning off rookie reliever Mayckol Guaipe as the Rockies avoided a series sweep against the Mariners with a 7-5 win on Wednesday at Coors Field.

"I tried to throw the ball down in the zone, a slider. It just stayed right in the middle," said Guiape, who gave up a homer in his second straight game after being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday. "As soon as I threw the pitch, I knew I'd made a mistake."

McKenry comes through in clutch

Taijuan Walker pitched 7 1/3 innings of three-run ball and Franklin Gutierrez supplied the go-ahead two-run home run in the seventh for the Mariners, but the Rockies rallied in the ninth as Ben Paulsen and Kyle Parker strung together RBI hits off Fernando Rodney to send the game into extra innings. More >

Parker's game-tying RBI single

The 22-year-old Walker, coming off a one-hit victory over the Twins, held Colorado to five hits with five strikeouts but wound up a with a no-decision on the 92-degree afternoon. Carlos Gonzalez tied the game at 3 with a three-run blast off Walker in the sixth for his 12th home run since July 1, but Gutierrez answered with a two-run shot of his own give Seattle a 5-3 lead.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pitchers are hitters, too, right?: The Mariners racked up five hits and three runs off Rockies starter Chris Rusin to take a 3-0 lead in the fourth, with Walker delivering the final tally on an RBI double down the first-base line. After Vidal Nuno snapped an 0-for-52 streak by Mariners pitchers on Tuesday, Walker made his first career hit count as well. It might have counted for another run, but a Rockies ballboy seated near the corner fielded the ball, then dropped it like a hot potato after realizing it was in play. Seattle had runners at first and second and lead runner Austin Jackson scored easily, but the umpires conferred and ruled Mark Trumbo had to stay at third, where he remained when Kyle Seager eventually grounded out with the bases loaded.

Walker's RBI double

"[The umpires] thought that's where they should have been placed, and I disagreed with them," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "If that ball ricochets off -- as it did later in the ballgame -- it comes back toward the infield and there's no way our guy does not score." More >

The only prescription is more CarGo: Gonzalez may have been named National League Player of the Month for July, but the Rockies right fielder has spilled his recent success over into August as well. His three-run homer -- which clanked off the back wall of the Seattle bullpen and was projected by Statcast™ to land 468 feet away -- signaled his fifth hit in the past four games and second multihit game this series. Gonzalez is batting .294 (5-for-17) this month and has nine home runs over his past 13 contests.

CarGo's three-run homer

"I had a perfect situation," Gonzalez said. "After he walked Nolan [Arenado], Walker threw me a heater inside, and I just missed it. Then I started thinking, 'Is he going to throw me that splitter again?' Because he threw me a splitter in my second at-bat that I just missed. [He did], and I was able to sit back and drive the ball to center field." More >

Another Guti beauty: No sooner had CarGo tied the game up with his three-run shot, Gutierrez untied it with his two-run homer off John Axford in the seventh. Gutierrez continues supplying significant punch in a part-time role for the Mariners since being recalled six weeks ago. After sitting out all of 2014 dealing with a health issue, the 32-year-old is batting .299 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 66 at-bats after Wednesday's 3-for-5 outing.

Getting out of it: After Christian Friedrich walked the first two hitters in the 10th and Seth Smith moved them over with a sacrifice bunt, veteran reliever Rafael Betancourt was called up to wiggle out of the jam. Betancourt's first challenge was leadoff man Ketel Marte, who fell behind, 0-2, but battled back to even the count. Betancourt then had two straight fastballs fouled off before punching out Marte with a 91-mph heater on the out half. Kyle Seager flied out to end the inning.

Betancourt escapes the jam

"[Betancourt's] got nerves of steel," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We've seen it many, many times. He's pretty unflappable in those tough situations. That was as tough as it gets today in that situation I brought him in. That was huge."

QUOTABLE
"[Guaipe] just left a slider up and he hit it out of the ballpark. You hit anything with authority in this ballpark and it's likely to go out. And it did." -- McClendon, on McKenry's game-winning homer

"I looked at [bench coach Tom Runnells], and said, 'These guys are killing us, 3-3.' That's what it felt like." -- Weiss, on Walker's dominance outside of Gonzalez's homer

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Nelson Cruz extended his hitting streak to 16 games -- the longest active streak in the Majors -- with a 2-for-5 day for Seattle. Cruz saw his home run streak end at five games, but he doubled and scored twice. He's hit .431 (31-for-72) with five doubles, 10 homers and 14 RBIs during the streak.

UP AND OVER
With one out in the sixth, Marte floated a foul fly ball down the left-field line that appeared destined for the seats. But left fielder Parker -- a former Clemson quarterback who isn't afraid of contact -- left his feet, slid on top of the padded concrete wall and made the catch before crashing into a fan on the front row.

Must C: Parker goes into stands

REPLAY REVIEW
After opening the seventh with a single, Cruz immediately swiped his third base of the season. The Rockies, however, challenged that Jose Reyes' tag occurred before Cruz reached second, but the call on the field stood after replay. Cruz then scored on Gutierrez's home run.

Safe call stands on Cruz

Colorado did, however, even out the replays later in the inning. Jackson appeared to have stolen his 13th base this year, but on the crew chief review, video evidence showed that DJ LeMahieu's tag did, in fact, come before Jackson reached second.

LeMahieu tags out Jackson

WHAT'S NEXT
Mariners: Hisashi Iwakuma (2-2, 4.47 ERA) takes on newly-acquired Cole Hamels in the opener of a three-game series with the Rangers as Seattle returns home for a 7:10 p.m. PT start on Friday. Iwakuma is 6-1 with one save and a 3.46 ERA in 12 prior meetings (11 starts) against Texas.

Rockies: The Rockies are off on Thursday before opening up a three-game series at Washington on Friday. In the opener, Colorado will turn to Jorge De La Rosa, who is 3-0 with a 4.76 ERA in three career starts at Nationals Park. He last pitched there in 2013, giving up just two runs over six innings. First pitch on Friday is at 5:05 MT.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. Dargan Southard is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.