SEATTLE (AP) — Shed Long Jr. followed up his grand statement from last weekend with another game-winning swing for the Seattle Mariners.
It's been a special couple of days for Long in his attempt to overcome injuries and rediscover the potential he showed a couple of years ago.
“I’m trying to come in and be the best version of me that I can be every day no matter what. Not just the 2019 version,” Long said. “I’m trying to be the best version of me. I want to be better than the 2019 version.”
Long hit his second straight decisive homer Tuesday night against Colorado. This time it was a solo shot with one out in the eighth inning that lifted Seattle over the Rockies 2-1 for the Mariners' fifth straight victory.
Two days after Long hit a game-ending grand slam in the 10th inning to complete a four-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, the left-handed hitter came through again with another late long ball for the Mariners.
Long drove a 1-1 pitch from Tyler Kinley (1-2) to straightaway center field. It was the second straight appearance in which Kinley gave up homer, after he blew a save opportunity last Saturday against Milwaukee.
“It’s hard to hit a ball out to dead center here and know it’s gone the minute you hit it,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “He certainly got all of that one.”
Paul Sewald (4-2) worked the eighth inning for Seattle to get the win, and Kendall Graveman pitched the ninth for his sixth save and first since May 16.
The Mariners have won eight of nine.
Seattle starter Chris Flexen was on the cusp of another dominant performance before C.J. Cron’s homer with two outs in the seventh inning pulled the Rockies even at 1.
Cron caught up to a 95 mph fastball and drove it to right-center field for his 10th homer of the season.
The home run snapped Flexen’s streak of scoreless innings at 15. But other than the brief troubles in the seventh, Flexen was outstanding. He struck out six and didn’t allow a hit until Brendan Rodgers’ single in the fifth. Flexen has allowed three earned runs or less in four of his past five starts.
“I think each outing I’ve continued to grow, to trust myself, trust my plan,” Flexen said.
Colorado starter Kyle Freeland recovered from three rough starts to post his best outing of the season. Freeland had allowed 18 earned runs in his past three outings, including nine home runs, but managed to stymie the Mariners.
Freeland scattered five hits and struck out seven. The only run allowed came on J.P. Crawford’s infield hit with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. But the Mariners missed out on their chance at a big inning on Dylan Moore’s baserunning mistake that became the third out.
“It was nice to have that feeling back of commanding the baseball, knowing I’m on top of it, staying through it, putting it in the spots I want it to be,” Freeland said. “It was very encouraging to see that and feel that and get back to the way I like to pitch.”
Colorado's Raimel Tapia singled in the sixth inning to extend his hitting streak to 18 games, the longest active streak in the majors. It's the longest by a Rockies player since Carlos Gonzalez's 19-game streak in 2016.
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray may return to the rotation this weekend against Milwaukee, manager Bud Black said. Gray made a rehab start for Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday and threw on the side before Tuesday’s game. Gray went on the injured list this month with a flexor strain. ... INF/OF Chris Owings was reinstated from the 60-day injured list shortly before the start of the game. Owings had been out since early April following thumb surgery. The Rockies designated RHP Joe Harvey for assignment.
Mariners: 1B Evan White was transferred to the 60-day injured list after having a setback in his recovery from a hip flexor injury while on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma. Servais said White had left Seattle to seek a second opinion on the injury. White has been out since May 14. Seattle claimed INF/OF Jake Hager off waivers from Milwaukee to take White’s spot on the 40-man roster. Hager will report to Tacoma. Seattle also recalled INF Donovan Walton from Tacoma, and RHP Yohan Ramirez was optioned.
Rockies: RHP German Márquez (5-6, 4.26) makes his 16th start. He threw six shutout innings in his last start against Milwaukee but had to be removed early because of cramps. He’s 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two career starts vs. Seattle.
Mariners: LHP Justus Sheffield (5-6, 5.65) makes his 13th start of the season. Sheffield allowed a season-high seven runs over five innings in his last start against Minnesota.
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