Seattle’s three-game winning streak ends as Michael McKenry hits a two-run homer off Mayckol Guaipe in the 11th after Fernando Rodney allows two runs in ninth.

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DENVER — The Mariners’ winning streak ended at three games. That’s if you deem a meager three games a real winning streak.

It ended in a way so many potential streaks had evaporated before they could start this season — late-inning bullpen failure.

Fernando Rodney blew the save in the ninth inning, and Mayckol Guaipe served up a two-run, walkoff homer to Michael McKenry in the 11th inning for a 7-5 loss to the Colorado Rockies.


Texas @ Mariners, 7:10 p.m., ROOT Sports

It’s a familiar story with the same disappointing ending for the Mariners (50-59).

They had been trying for their first three-game series sweep since May 25-27, when they swept the Rays. They also were trying to match their longest winning streak of the season at four games.

Those hopes were dimmed by Rodney’s struggles in the ninth and ended by Guaipe’s slider that couldn’t have been any more perfect for McKenry to hit.

“I tried to throw the ball down in the zone,” Guaipe said through interpreter Nasusel Cabrera. “It was right in the middle. As soon I threw the pitch, I knew I made a mistake.”

But that situation should have been avoided. Rodney’s ninth inning was a reminder of an abysmal first half of the season that saw him lose his closer’s job.

So how did he end up pitching in the ninth with a 5-3 lead?

Manager Lloyd McClendon had used current closer Carson Smith in the eighth inning to replace starter Taijuan Walker with the dangerous Nolan Arenado at the plate with a runner on first base and one out.

“I had a plan for Carson, and it was one hitter and that was it,” McClendon said. “He really wasn’t available, but I thought if we needed one out for him in a big situation we would use him.”

The strategy worked. Smith got Arenado to ground into an inning-ending double play, leaving the ultra-hot Carlos Gonzalez, who had hit a three-run homer earlier in the game, in the on-deck circle.

Left-hander Joe Beimel started the ninth to face Gonzalez and struck him out. With All-Star second baseman and right-handed hitter D.J. LeMahieu up next, McClendon called on Rodney to fill the role that earned him All-Star honors last season. He needed to protect a two-run lead and needed to get only two outs.

Rodney had been outstanding in his previous five outings after the Mariners recognized some pitch-tipping issues. With modified mechanics, he hadn’t allowed a run in 51/3 innings — and the only base runner reached via walk — with seven strikeouts.

But that didn’t carry over into this outing. Rodney walked LeMahieu.

“I didn’t feel right with my delivery,” Rodney said.

Rodney then threw what looked to be a pretty good changeup to Ben Paulsen. But he drove it into the left-center-field gap for a double, scoring LeMahieu.

“I can’t throw it better than that,” Rodney said. “It was a good pitch and down. And in this park everything in the air is bad.”

Kyle Parker followed with a bloop single into right field that allowed Paulsen to score the tying run.

“That was a good pitch, too,” Rodney said. “In that situation, I tried to run (a four-seam fastball) in to get a double play and get out of the inning. I thought I made a good pitch.”

But the damage was done.

“It was a tough ninth inning,” McClendon said. “This guy has been in four out of five days. He has a right to be tired, too. I protect the young kids, but four out of five days is tough. It’s a tough situation in a tough ballpark. The walk hurt him. In this type of ballpark, if you walk a guy or misplay a ball, it usually comes back to haunt you.”

Seattle had the lead in the ninth thanks to Franklin Gutierrez’s two-run homer in the seventh off reliever John Axford.

It seemingly set up Walker to get the win. The right-hander pitched 71/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

Walker helped his run support by doubling just inside the first-base bag and into foul territory. Austin Jackson came around to score, and it appeared Mark Trumbo would score as well. But the security guard along the wall in right field apparently thought it was a foul ball and grabbed the baseball for a moment before realizing it was a live ball. It was ruled a ground-rule double, keeping Trumbo at third.

Experience project
Fernando Rodney last had a save July 5 but had improved in a non-closer’s role over the past few weeks.
Stat Wed. vs. Colorado Previous 5 appearances
IP 1/3 51/3
Hits 2 0
Runs 2 0
BB 2 1
SO 0 7
ERA 54.00 0.00