Kendrick, 'pen combine to stifle Seattle

Kendrick, 'pen combine to stifle Seattle

SEATTLE -- The Rockies scored two runs in the fourth inning on a Kyle Seager throwing error and held on to beat the Mariners, 3-2, on Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field, earning their first series win since Aug. 24-26.

Right-hander Kyle Kendrick notched his second straight win -- and his first in four Interleague starts this season -- for Colorado, holding Seattle to two runs on three hits over five innings while walking two and striking out four. Kendrick allowed back-to-back walks and two runs in the fourth but got Logan Morrison to ground out to third to end the threat.

Seattle starter James Paxton lasted just three-plus innings in his return to the Mariners' rotation. In his first start since May 28, the left-hander allowed three runs -- two earned -- on two hits and threw just 36 of his 66 pitches for strikes.

"I expected him to be somewhat rusty. Pitch count got up fairly quick and we had to get him out of there," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "When a pitcher starts to stress a little bit, particularly with the pitch count and he's coming back off an injury, that's when you tend to worry a little bit. You just didn't want to take any chances with him at that point."

McClendon on loss to Rockies

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Blackmon hustles up a run: After drawing a leadoff walk in the third, Charlie Blackmon beat the throw to second on an attempted double-play as the Mariners got the relay out at first. Blackmon took third with his 38th stolen base and scored on Nolan Arenado's sac fly to right.

Arenado's sacrifice fly

Seager slings it wide: Seager committed his 16th error of the season, doubling his total of eight from 2014. With the bases loaded and nobody out in the third inning, the Gold Glove third baseman fielded a ground ball off the bat of Rockies catcher Dustin Garneau and threw home with plenty of time to nab Wilin Rosario on a force play. But Seager's throw sailed wide of catcher Steve Baron's glove, allowing both Rosario and Morneau to score to give the Rockies a 3-0 lead.

"Tough play, body-control play. It would've been one heck of a play if he gets him out," McClendon said. "That's an extremely tough play trying to throw on the run straight forward, not to the side. That's tough."

Rockies score two on error

Barnes preserves lead: With speedy Ketel Marte on first, Brandon Barnes helped preserve a 3-2 lead with a double-play to end the eighth. Barnes went all out for a diving grab of Seager's drive into the left-field corner, sliding across the foul line. Barnes quickly got up and fired to shortstop Cristhian Adames, whose relay doubled Marte off first. More >

"That's the game right there," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "But, we've seen him do it. He sacrifices his body out there in the outfield. Plays all three spots out there and a very good defender. That was a big play."

Must C: Barnes' insane grab

Smith scores a pair: Mariners right fielder Seth Smith answered Colorado's two-run fourth with two outs in the bottom of the frame, connecting with a 3-1 sinker and dropping the ball just in front of center fielder Blackmon to allow both Marte and Robinson Cano to score. The single, which cut Colorado's lead to 3-2, gave Smith his first RBIs since Sept. 2.

"You're always trying to get a good pitch to hit and hit it hard somewhere," Smith said. "That's a tricky one where you know it's going to either drop right in front of him or he'll be able to come through and catch it. Lost a little sting there at the end."

Axford shuts door: Rockies closer John Axford pitched a scoreless ninth for his 23rd save in 28 chances, his 10th consecutive scoreless outing since Aug. 19. It's his most saves since he notched 35 with Milwaukee in 2012, which capped a three-season run totaling 105 saves.

"Ax is throwing the ball really well. The back end of our bullpen has been real good," Weiss said. "That Miller, Diaz, Axford formula has worked out very well here lately. Ax is back to form. He had a hiccup there for a few weeks, but other than that, he's had a hell of a season for us."

Axford closes the door

QUOTABLE
"Honestly, off the bat I didn't think there was any chance he got to it. I thought it was going to be a double for sure and the way Marte runs there you gotta think that that ties the game but he made a heck of a play. Even when he started to dive I still didn't think he was going to be able to get to it, but he did." -- Seager, on Barnes' diving catch in the eighth

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Sunday's game was the Mariners' 79th game decided by two runs or less this season and their 50th one-run game. Seattle is 27-23 in one-run games.

KENDRICK BEATS HOMETOWN TEAM
Kendrick, who was a three-sport high school athlete in nearby Mount Vernon, Wash. -- and turned down a scholarship to play quarterback at Washington State -- was facing the Mariners for the first time in his career.

"I came to games here as a kid," Kendrick said. "My dad used to take me to games here. Just coming here brought back those memories. Being able to pitch against a team I grew up rooting for, it's pretty cool, pretty special. I enjoyed it that's for sure. And, glad we came away with a W."

WHAT'S NEXT
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (0-0, 5.17 ERA) opens the three-game series against the Dodgers on Monday, still looking for his first Major League victory. The Rockies are 1-6 in his seven starts since he was called up Aug. 4. First pitch is set for 8:10 p.m. MT.

Mariners: Taijuan Walker (10-8, 4.70 ERA) faces the Angels in the first game of a three-game set Monday at 7:10 p.m. at Safeco Field. Walker yielded three home runs in a six-run, three-inning outing against the Rangers on Tuesday for his first loss in 10 starts. The 23-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts against the Angels this season. .

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Andrew Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.