Mariners-Rockies Preview

BY foxsports • August 5, 2015

For the second time this season, Nelson Cruz is in the midst of an impressive power surge.

Seattle teammate Taijuan Walker showed signs of dominance in his most recent outing.

As Cruz looks to continue his offensive tear and Walker tries to build on his first career complete game, the Mariners attempt to earn a three-game road sweep of the struggling Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.

With a solo home run in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 10-4 victory, Cruz has homered in five straight games for the second time this season. He did it from April 11-15. Ken Griffey Jr., is the only Mariner to homer in at least six consecutive contests, doing so over eight straight in July 1993.

After going 5 for 8 in his first two career games at Coors Field, Cruz is batting .433 with 10 of his 31 home runs and 14 RBIs during a 15-game hitting streak.

''I hope he continues to impress me,'' Seattle manager Lloyd McLendon said.

McClendon is growing fond of Walker (8-7, 4.73 ERA), who went 0-1 with an 8.02 ERA in four starts prior to yielding only a fourth-inning home run and matching a career high with 11 strikeouts in Friday's 6-1 victory at Minnesota.

''It's coming,'' McClendon said. ''You can see what this young man is going to become. It's going to be special.

"This guy, he's got a great repertoire and when it's on, it's on.''

In his first full major league season, Walker has lasted at least eight innings three times over 21 starts. He went 1-4 with a 9.76 ERA in his first six road starts this year but is 5-0 with a 2.06 ERA in the last six.

"I just have to move on now and get ready for the next one," the right-hander, who turns 23 next week, told MLB's official website.

Looking to help Seattle (50-58) to a fourth straight win, Walker makes his first appearance against a Colorado team that's dropped three straight and six of its last seven.

One of two Rockies to face Walker, Jose Reyes is 0 for 6 with two strikeouts and a walk against him.

The veteran shortstop is 3 for 9 with two RBIs in this series to raise his average to .208 in six games since he was acquired by the Rockies (44-61) in the deal that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto.

"He's doing a nice job in a tough situation for him," manager Walt Weiss said. "You can never replace a guy like Tulo, but he's not caught up in any of that. He's himself. He's an established veteran, an All-Star.

"He's done it all in this game, and he's showing up with the same joy, enthusiasm and passion that he has for his whole career."

Teammate Kyle Parker also is 3 for 9 in the set and hit his first home run in 23 career games Tuesday.

Chris Rusin (3-4, 4.61) had a better game at the plate than on the mound Thursday when he homered and singled but gave up six runs and 10 hits in five innings while not factoring in the decision of Colorado's 9-8 loss to St. Louis. The left-hander has not won since June 21 and is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in his last three starts.

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