SEATTLE (The Sports Xchange) – The Seattle Mariners were looking for a big boost with the return of James Paxton.
They got even more than they hoped for.
Paxton, making his first appearance in nearly a month, pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings as the Mariners extended their winning streak to four games, matching a season high, with a 5-0 victory against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night at Safeco Field.
“It was unbelievable. It was like he didn’t miss a beat,” Mariners catcher Mike Zunino said of the left-hander.
Paxton (4-0), who has allowed one earned run or none in six of his seven starts this season, lowered his ERA to 1.26. He gave up three hits, struck out six and didn’t issue a walk. Of his 74 pitches, 57 were strikes.
“It felt great. It was good to be back out there,” said Paxton, who had been sidelined since May 2 due to a left forearm strain. “I just tried to pound the (strike) zone. It was really nice just to hop back out there and feel that comfortable.”
Paxton, activated from the disabled list before the game, retired the side in order in four of his five full innings.
“He gave us more tonight than we could have ever expected for not pitching for almost a month,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It was awesome.”
Three relievers combined for 3 2/3 innings of one-hit ball as the Mariners got their major-league-leading sixth shutout of the season.
Rockies rookie Antonio Senzatela (7-2) took his first road loss despite a career-high seven strikeouts. He yielded four runs on five hits and two walks in five innings.
Senzatela allowed back-to-back singles up the middle by Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager to open the second, then threw a wild pitch to allow the runners to advance to second and third. Danny Valencia lined the next pitch into the right-center-field gap for a two-run double.
After getting two outs, Senzatela allowed a run-scoring double to Mike Zunino into the left field corner as the Mariners took a 3-0 lead.
“The ball up out over the plate to Valencia was the back-breaker in a game like this,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Three runs with Paxton pitching how he was …”
Senzatela ran into trouble again in the fifth. Jarrod Dyson led off the inning with a walk and then moved to third on a balk and a wild pitch. After a walk to Jean Segura, Ben Gamel hit a single down the left field line to give the Mariners a 4-0 advantage.
Seattle scored its final run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Gamel.
Tony Wolters collected two of Colorado’s three hits.
NOTES: The Mariners improved to 22-9 when scoring four or more runs. They have won seven straight and 14 of their past 15 when scoring four-plus times. … Seattle is 8-3 in interleague games. … Mariners 1B Danny Valencia hit into a scary 1-6-4-3 double play in the sixth inning. Valencia’s broken-bat liner was headed for Colorado RHP Jordan Lyles’ face before the reliever got his glove up to deflect the ball, which caromed to SS Trevor Story. Story flipped to 2B DJ LeMahieu for the force at second, and LeMahieu completed the double play with a strong throw to first. … Seattle C Mike Zunino, who went 2-for-3, has multiple hits in three consecutive games for the first time in his career. … Colorado LHP Kyle Freeland (5-3, 3.43 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Seattle RHP Yovani Gallardo (2-5, 5.76) in the Thursday afternoon series finale.