Instead of imploding on the road, the Mariners reeled off three wins in a row with a revived offense and contributions from unexpected players. Cruz left the game with calf tightness.
DENVER — When is a split considered something more than a success? Well, when you are playing on the road against the Nationals, Red Sox and Rockies and you are doing it with a patchwork starting rotation of four pitchers slated start the season for Class AAA Tacoma and your top four pitchers are on the disabled list.
Not much was expected of the Mariners on their eight-game adventure to Nationals Park, Fenway Park and then Coors Field. Given the status of their starting pitching and their uninspiring play heading into it — dropping three of four to the White Sox prior — and the playoff-caliber teams they were playing, predictions of one, maybe two wins were common and not unfair.
But with a decisive 10-4 rout over the Rockies on Tuesday, the Mariners won their third game in a row and finished the trip with a 4-4 record while improving to 24-29 on the season.
Colorado @ Mariners, 7:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
Obviously their overall record is still suboptimal and there were stretches in the last 10-plus games — particularly being held to one run in five straight games and being shut out in back-to-back games at Fenway Park — where Seattle seemed to be sliding toward an irrelevant season before mid-June.
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During the trip, manager Scott Servais questioned his team’s intensity and designated hitter Nelson Cruz used the word embarrassing to describe their results. But instead of turning against each other and imploding from within, the Mariners reeled off three wins in a row with a revived offense and contributions from unexpected players.
“It’s driven by our veteran group and those guys understanding that they drive the train, as I often say, and that they have to lead…