The biggest hit of Noel Cuevas‘ young major league career was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt.
The Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners were tied at 1 in the seventh inning Saturday Kemal Ishmael Jersey , and the Rockies had two men on and one out when Cuevas came to the plate as the No. 9 hitter. He got the sign for a safety squeeze, but fouled off his first bunt attempt.
Instead, Cuevas hit the next pitch over the left-field fence for a three-run homer, giving the Rockies the lead in what would be a 5-1 win.
”I wasn’t happy at that moment that I missed it. We were trying to get that run in,” Cuevas said. ”Next pitch, I can’t remember I just missed a bunt. I need to make sure I’m ready for that pitch and that was it.”
It was the second career home run for Cuevas, who was called up to the Rockies on April 22, and his first since May 14. The three RBI set a career high, and he tied his best mark with three hits in the game. He also had another sacrifice attempt turn into an infield hit to load the bases in the third inning.
Cuevas wasn’t the only one at the bottom of Colorado’s order to have a big day. The Rockies’ No. 6-9 hitters combined to go 9 for 14 with five RBIs.
”All those guys, every one of their at-bats from pitch one, they were ready to hit,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. ”That’s what I saw C. J. Prosise Jersey , all of them.”
The Rockies won their fifth straight despite facing Seattle’s best starter, James Paxton (8-3). Although Paxton was again overpowering at times, striking out nine, he lost for the second time in three starts. He allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings – marking the third time in four starts Paxton allowed at least that many runs and hits.
”I felt really good today. I had good stuff, I felt like I threw the ball well,” he said. ”It was really good other than that one pitch.”
The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Gonzalez. Segura’s seventh homer tied the score in the fifth.
Reliever Scott Oberg (2-0) earned the win by throwing a perfect sixth inning, striking out two.
Colorado starter Kyle Freeland left after five innings, allowing one run and five hits. It was Freeland’s shortest outing since going four innings on April 18 – he had pitched into the sixth inning or later in his previous 13 starts.
Rockies: Colorado recalled INF/OF Jordan Patterson and LHP Jerry Vasto from Triple-A Albuquerque, and C Tom Murphy – who returned to Denver on Friday to be with his wife, Lindsay, for the birth of their second child – was placed on the paternity list.
Mariners: Seattle recalled OF John Andreoli from Triple-A Tacoma and optioned RHP Nick Rumbelow to Tacoma. Andreoli started in left field Saturday and struck out twice before being replaced by Ben Gamel in the sixth.
Rockies: LHP Mike Dunn was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to July 4 with AC joint inflammation. Colorado manager Bud Black said it was unclear how long Dunn might be out. … SS Trevor Story was scratched from the starting lineup with a bruised right foot.
Mariners: Mitch Haniger was back in the starting lineup at right field after missing two games with a bruised right knee. … 2B Dee Gordon was out of the starting lineup after hurting his hip on a play at the plate on Friday, but manager Scott Servais said it was just a day off and the injury wasn’t serious. Gordon entered the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth and popped out to left field.
Before the game Chris Conley Jersey , Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano talked with the media about his 80-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug agreement, saying it was the most difficult thing he’s dealt with in his life outside of the death of his grandfather. Cano is eligible to return on August 14, but is ineligible for postseason play and Gordon has excelled defensively at second base in Cano’s absence.
”I’m focused on bringing a title to Seattle so I would do whatever it takes to help this team to win,” Cano said. ”At the same time I understand I’m not going to be able to play in the playoffs so you got to give a chance to Dee to go out and play because when we get to the playoffs he’s going to have to come back and play second base.”
Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (3-1, 4.44 ERA) is making his second start after starting the year in the Colorado bullpen. In his first start on Tuesday against the Giants, Senzatela pitched seven scoreless innings.
Mariners: LHP Wade LeBlanc (4-0, 3.19) will make his 13th start of the season. He allowed one run on three hits in seven innings his last time out against the Angels.
Even as he sat in the back of a police car sprinting to the hospital to get a precise prognosis on his injured left calf while the Pittsburgh Steelers played on without him during a loss to New England three weeks ago, Antonio Brown always believed he’d be back.
He just needed time.
When his teammates provided it by assuring the AFC North champions of a first-round bye, Brown pushed his rehab.
By last weekend video surfaced of Brown working out in Florida with former NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.
And there Brown was on Monday, going through drills with the rest of the Steelers well on track for a return on Sunday against Jacksonville in the divisional round of the playoffs.
”I never count myself out regardless of circumstances,” Brown said. ”I know playing football you’re going to have adversity. Just got to grow from it.”
While stressing he’s ”still got a lot to test,” the only unanimous selection on the 2017 All-Pro Team and the only player in NFL history with five straight seasons with at least 100 receptions appeared to be relatively close to his old self.
”AB is nice Jeremy Hill Jersey ,” cornerback Joe Haden said. ”If he’s out there, I expect him to be AB. He’s not going to be out there limping around. When he was running, he looked pretty good. You never know how it’s going to feel afterward, but while he’s out there, while he’s running his routes, he looked like AB.”
Brown left in the first half against New England on Dec. 17 when his legs got tangled with a pair of Patriots defenders while trying to haul in a touchdown pass.
The Steelers lost 27-23 before rebounding to close out the regular season with wins over Houston and Cleveland.
Still, their best chance at reaching the AFC championship game for a second consecutive season comes with Brown’s No. 84 in the lineup.
The Jaguars have one of the NFL’s top defensive backfields, though Brown still finished with 10 receptions and 157 yards on Oct. 8, the lone bright spot for the Steelers in a 30-9 loss in which Jacksonville scored the final 23 points and left Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shaken after throwing five interceptions.
Roethlisberger hasn’t shied away from talk of a rematch. That’s fine by the Jaguars.
”Be careful what you wish for,” Jacksonville cornerback AJ Bouye said. ”This is what he wanted. This is what he’s going to get.”
What the Steelers are likely to get in return is a heavy dose of Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette.
He was dominant with 181 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh in October, including a backbreaking 90-yard sprint with 1:47 left that showcased the speed and the power that makes him so dangerous. Jacksonville finished with 231 yards rushing in all, the most given up by the Steelers all season.
It was perhaps the biggest upset in the NFL season at the time. In the rearview P.J. Williams Jersey , not so much. The Jaguars have proven they’re legit while reaching the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
Though Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey suggested Pittsburgh must feel like the loss was a ”fluke,” the Steelers insist that’s not the case.
”We don’t feel like it was a fluke,” linebacker Bud Dupree said. ”We actually saw the plays they made and everything that was going on and the mistakes that we made and … that’s what happens. We let them get a couple of explosion plays.”
Yet Steelers safety Mike Mitchell is quick to point out the blowout on the scoreboard didn’t exactly reflect what happened on the field. Even with Fournette’s closeout dash to the end zone, Pittsburgh outgained the Jaguars 373-313.
”If you watch that football game, it’s not like their offense exploited us a ton,” Mitchell said. ”I don’t think it was a dominant performance from that standpoint. I thought we played well enough to win the game. Obviously we didn’t. We’ve got to do better Sunday as a complete team to win the game.”
One of the reasons Roethlisberger wanted another shot at Jacksonville. The two-time Super Bowl winner facetiously wondered if he still ”had it” after turning the ball over repeatedly back in October.
All he did over the second half of the season was throw 18 touchdowns against five interceptions while leading Pittsburgh to a second straight division title and fourth consecutive playoff appearance.
Roethlisberger’s swagger is back. And with Brown nearing a return, the Steelers believe they’re three wins away from a seventh Lombardi Trophy regardless of who may stand in the way.
”(Got to) find a way to win this one,” Brown said, ”and then the next one and the next one.”
AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Jacksonville, Fla., contributed to this report.
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