With another strong offensive performance and a solid outing from starter David Purcey, the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Seattle Mariners 8-3 for their fifth straight win.
Alex Rios led the offensive explosion for Toronto (53-51), belting solo shots in the first and fifth innings and adding a third RBI on the afternoon with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Joe Inglett went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and scored on a wild pitch, while Scott Rolen and Brad Wilkerson each knocked in a run.
Purcey (1-1) allowed three earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts in six innings of work to earn his first major league win. Scott Downs, Brandon League and Jason Frasor each worked an inning of relief and shut out the Mariners the rest of the way.
"It's really comforting to know they're giving me a couple of games to see how it goes," said Purcey. "That's the best part for me because I've already started my routine for the next five days and it's nice knowing I'm going to be here."
The win was an encouraging sign from the left-handed starter, who's expected to have a lengthy audition with the team after Saturday's news that starter Dustin McGowan was lost for the season.
McGowan, 26, will undergo season-ending surgery on Thursday to repair fraying of the labrum in his right shoulder.
The operation will also examine a tear in the pitcher's right rotator cuff — an injury that sent him to the disabled list on July 9 — to see if a further procedure is necessary.
"With Dustin out we need someone to step up and (Purcey) did today," said Toronto manager Cito Gaston. "If he can continue to go out and pitch like he did today, just give us a chance to win a ballgame, that's what he did. He gave us more than a chance."
Jose Lopez provided all the offence for the Mariners (38-65), who have lost seven straight. The second baseman extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games with an RBI double in the second inning and a two-run home run to left off Purcey in the sixth.
R.A. Dickey (2-6), who was pitching on three days rest due to an injury to projected starter Carlos Silva, was rocked in 5 1/3 innings of work.
The knuckleballer surrendered eight runs, all earned, on 10 hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
Rios opens scoring with a bang
Rios put the Jays up 1-0 with his first home run of the day and seventh of the season. The centre fielder smacked a 2-0 offering from Dickey with two out in the first.
Seattle tied the game in the top half of the second as Adrian Beltre led off the frame with a double and then scored on another double from Lopez.
Matt Stairs tripled to lead off the bottom of the second and scored on a sacrifice fly from Rolen.
Toronto struck again in the third inning as Inglett doubled, advanced to third on a bunt from David Eckstein and then scored on a wild pitch from Dickey.
The Blue Jays set up their two-run fourth inning by loading the bases courtesy of a single from Stairs and walks to Rolen and Adam Lind.
Wilkerson cashed in Stairs with a sacrifice fly to centre and Inglett doubled with two outs to score Rolen for a 5-1 Toronto lead.
Rios led off the fifth with his eighth home run of the season to straightaway centre field. The last time Rios went deep twice in a game was June 12, 2006, against the Baltimore Orioles.
Four of Rios's home runs this season have come in the past week and Gaston believes it's a sign his right fielder is regaining the form that saw him swat 24 last season.
"Four home runs certainly shows you he's starting to get that old swing back from last year," Gaston said of Rios. "He's a big part of this team and we need him to step up and he's stepping up."
"I'm a little more relaxed than I was before," added Rios. "I think that's the biggest part about it."
Lopez cut the lead to 6-3 in the sixth with a mammoth shot off Purcey to the second deck of the Rogers Centre for his seventh home run of the season. The starter put two more aboard before he settled down and finished the inning after a visit from Gaston.
"Normally when I see a manager come out, it means you're done and they're going to go to the bullpen," said Purcey. "He goes, `You want to give me the ball?' I go, `No.' He goes, `OK, go get the next guy.'
"I was grateful for it, got a groundball and did the job."
Toronto cushioned its lead with two more runs in the bottom of the frame. Gregg Zaun doubled and scored on a single from Inglett, and Rios hit a sacrifice fly RBI.
Seattle right fielder Ichiro Suzuki moved one step closer to his 3,000th career hit with a single in the ninth to snap an 0-for-14 slump.
Suzuki has a combined 2,996 hits between the major leagues and the Japanese League, with 1,718 coming with the Mariners.