Bullpen gives up three runs in the ninth, but then Carson Smith gets the final out with tying run on third.

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DENVER — It can never be simple, stress-free or without drama. The idea of the Mariners picking up a nondescript, tension-free victory seems like an impossibility.

Perhaps it’s not in the DNA of this team, or in the destiny of this disappointing season.

If you factor in the combination of the Mariners’ up-and-down bullpen and hitter-friendly Coors Field, the next two games could be a similar adventure. It’s the equivalent of a truck filled with dynamite crashing into a train filled with nitroglycerin.

It should have been a simple ninth inning Monday night. The Mariners had a four-run lead, so there was wiggle room for a run or two without alarming panic.

But eight batters, four hits, a couple of missed checked-swing calls, three runs and three outs later, Seattle finally escaped with a fortunate 8-7 victory over Colorado.

“This ballpark is tough and you are never comfortable,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Anything can go wrong and it can cost you.”

A few things went wrong in that ninth inning.

Coming into the game, the Mariners led the majors with 60 of their 106 games being decided by two runs or less. They made it 61 by their own doing.

Tom Wilhelmsen and Rob Rasmussen each allowed a runner to reach base via singles to start the inning. Closer Carson Smith was brought in to try and prevent chaos. He struck out D.J. LeMahieu for the first out. It was LeMahieu’s fifth strikeout in five at-bats.

The second out wouldn’t come quite as easily. Ben Paulsen hit screamer of a double into the left-center gap to score both runners to trim the Seattle lead to 8-6. Nick Hundley drove in Paulsen with a single to right field to make it a one-run game. Everything was spiraling out of control when Smith gave up a single to Kyle Parker putting the tying run on third and the winning run on first.

But the rookie right-hander dug in.

He struck out pinch-hitter Michael McKenry on a series of nasty sliders and then got the dangerous Charlie Blackmon to fly out to end the game.

“I knew my job was to get a strikeout or double-play ball,” Smith said. “I got ahead with the slider and finished with slider.”

Smith wasn’t looking at the events that led to him getting his 10th save of the season, but the result.

“We got the win and that’s my job and that’s what I was able to do,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, I let in some runs beforehand. But overall, we got the win and that’s a step in the right direction. I’m happy about my outing and we’ll move on from here.”

Despite the ninth-inning tension, Felix Hernandez still got credit for the victory, improving to 13-6.

Hernandez worked 62/3 innings, allowing four runs on a whopping 11 hits with a walk and nine strikeouts. He threw 111 pitches.

“In this ballpark, I thought he was great,” McClendon said. “Your stuff just doesn’t have that snap as well in this ballpark. He didn’t have a lot of sink on the fastball because balls just don’t sink like they should.”

Hernandez was diplomatic about McClendon’s assessment.

“You know me, I’m not pleased,” he said. “We got a win and that’s the most important thing, but I’m not pleased with my performance.”

The Mariners provided plenty of run support early, jumping on Rockies starter Eddie Butler immediately. Kyle Seager started the four-run first with a one-out double to right-center. He scored on Robinson Cano’s two-out single to right to make it 1-0. Seth Smith drew a walk and Jesus Montero continued to swing a hot bat since being called up. Montero laced a line drive to the left-center gap, taking advantage of an outfield shift to right field. Montero’s double scored both runners to make it 3-0. Brad Miller ended the scoring outburst, dumping a single into right-center to score Montero and make it 4-0. It was just the fourth time this season Seattle had scored four or more runs in the first inning of a game.

The Rockies answered with a run in the bottom of the first to cut it to 4-1.

But Seattle continued to pummel Butler. Seager golfed an 0-1 slider over the wall in deep right-center for his 16th homer. Nelson Cruz muscled a 3-1 fastball over the wall in left for his 30th homer of the season.

“I didn’t hit it that well, just good enough,” he said.

Cruz became the first Mariner to reach the 30-home run mark since Russell Branyan (31) in 2009. The homer also extended Cruz’s hitting streak to 14 games and gave him home runs in four consecutive games. It is his second streak of four games with a homer this season and it ties him with Joc Pederson of the Dodgers for the longest streak this season. It was also his 23rd road homer — the most in baseball.

“I just play my game every day and whatever happens, happens,” he said. “The important thing is getting a win. That’s the only thing I care about.”