Rockies rout M's, boost win streak to 11
Nothing can slow down the streaking Colorado Rockies - not even tornadoes.
Garrett Atkins and Todd Helton had three hits each and the Colorado Rockies beat the Seattle Mariners 7-1 on Sunday, matching the franchise record with their 11th straight win.
Colorado's starters have won 10 times during the streak.
Jason Hammel said he felt strong, but a 55-minute rain delay in the top of the sixth, which also included a tornado warning for the Denver area, kept him from pitching deeper into the game.
"I saw at least seven for sure," Hammel said. "I've never had to deal with tornadoes. I've never found the other team being Mother Nature."
Brad Hawpe doubled twice and Clint Barmes had two hits for Colorado, which has swept three straight series and is 13-4 under interim manager Jim Tracy.
"Every day we walk out on the field we expect to win," Helton said. "In the big leagues you're facing good teams and sometimes it doesn't happen and that's why you don't get too down when things go bad because you can always turn them around."
The Rockies won 11 straight from Sept. 16-27, 2007, when they surged to the NL wild card. They won 14 of their last 15 that season, including a one-game playoff against San Diego to win the wild card.
Colorado then won seven straight playoff games, sweeping Philadelphia in the NL Divisional playoff and Arizona in the NLCS before being swept by Boston in the World Series.
Sunday, they finished off a sweep of a team that was playing well. The Mariners had won four straight series and 9 of 13 games overall entering the weekend series.
"We came in here on a roll," first baseman Russell Branyan said. "They got the best of us."
The Rockies tied the Red Sox for the longest win streak in the majors this year. The Red Sox won 11 in a row from April 15-27.
The streak began after losing three in a row at Houston. Colorado salvaged the final game of that series before sweeping four games in St. Louis and three more in Milwaukee.
"We played great baseball in the first two games in St. Louis, and you could see an easiness to the group by game three in St. Louis," Tracy said. "Then when we got to Milwaukee I saw belief."
Hammel (4-3) gave up one run on five hits in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out six and didn't walk a batter to earn his fourth straight win.
Seattle starter Jason Vargas (2-2) gave up seven runs and 12 hits, walked two and struck out four in 4 2-3 innings.
"I thought I had things going when I struck out the side in the third," Vargas said. "I just got off track in the fifth and they really opened up the game."
Ichiro Suzuki had two hits for Seattle.
Ahead 2-1 after four, the Rockies blew it open in the fifth. Helton and Atkins started the inning with singles and Hawpe doubled to left to drive in Helton. One out later, Troy Tulowitzki was intentionally walked and Chris Iannetta drove a double to the wall in left-center to clear the bases.
After Hammel grounded out, rookie Dexter Fowler doubled home Iannetta to make it 7-1.
"A huge three-run double by Iannetta, a big double by Brad Hawpe," Tracy said.
The Mariners took a 1-0 lead on Jose Lopez's sacrifice fly in the first inning. Tulowitzki tied it with a sacrifice fly in the second, and the Rockies took a 2-1 lead in the third when Helton singled to drive in Barmes.
Rockies RHP Taylor Buchholz will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow next Wednesday or Thursday, Tracy said. Buchholz sprained the ligament while warming up in the bullpen before his first spring training appearance on Feb. 26 against the Chicago White Sox and has been on the disabled list all season. ... Mariners C Kenji Johjima (broken big toe on his left foot) will join the team in San Diego on Monday.