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Elias makes rotation case; Rockies nip Mariners

photo - Colorado Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells, center, acting as manager for a split squad game, talks to relief pitcher Leuris Gomez, right, and catcher Jordan Pacheco (58) in the fifth inning of a spring exhibition baseball game Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan) + caption
Colorado Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells, center, acting as manager for a split squad game, talks to relief pitcher Leuris Gomez, right, and catcher Jordan Pacheco (58) in the fifth inning of a spring exhibition baseball game Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
The Associated Press Updated: March 22, 2014 at 6:04 pm 0

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Roenis Elias impressed again in his improbable quest for a spot in Seattle's rotation, throwing 5 1-3 strong innings for the Mariners in a 4-3 loss Saturday to the Colorado Rockies in a game between split squads.

The 25-year-old Cuban defector was a non-roster invitee. He's pitched in only 59 games, nothing above Double-A. But injuries have created holes for Seattle, and Elias has shined.

Wilin Rosario's two-run home run in the fourth was the lone blemish for Elias, who allowed four hits and struck out four. His spring ERA is 2.04.

Brett Anderson labored through six innings for Colorado, giving up 12 hits but only three runs.

Justin Smoak hit a solo home run for Seattle. Robinson Cano went 0 for 4, lowering his average to .500.

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