Mariners sweep Blue Jays, win 7th straight
Rasmus, Johnson go deep for Toronto
With Seattle starter Blake Beavan teetering and nemesis Colby Rasmus at the plate, Rajai Davis broke for second base.
He was bluffing, but rookie Anthony Gose took off from first and Davis ended up being tagged out for the final out of the fifth inning.
The Mariners are hot enough — seven straight wins — that they don't need help, yet Toronto provided some at a crucial point. Seattle completed a series sweep thanks to John Jaso's go-ahead single in the sixth inning and Beavan's 7 2/3 strong innings in a 5-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.
The Blue Jays scored just six runs over the three games. Rasmus, who went 2-for-4 and is 5-for-7 in his career against Beavan, was left at the plate with two runners on base after a baserunning mistake.
"As soon as Rajai breaks and commits to steal a bag, Anthony is reading that," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "Where things get fouled up once he committed to go to third base when he stopped halfway.
"That got everybody into no-man's land. Offensively, that seemed like it was the turning point for us."
Seattle has given up three runs or less in six of the last seven games. Beavan (7-6) gave up three runs and seven hits in his 82-pitch outing. He struck out four and is undefeated (4-0) since being recalled from triple-A Tacoma July 17.
After Toronto came after his fastball early, Beavan was able to blend in a slider to to keep the Blue Jays at bay.
"Obviously, we saw early on they were going to be very aggressive with him," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said.
Toronto starter Carlos Villanueva (6-1) threw six innings, allowed seven hits, four earned runs and struck out six. He went 4-0 and allowed just five earned runs in all of July.
He featured off-speed pitches and was perfect in the first three innings Wednesday. But, Seattle was able to adjust to score four runs in the middle innings, including a two-run homer to former Jay Eric Thames. Villanueva said he should have thrown another slider to Thames like catcher Jeff Mathis wanted him to.
"I was stubborn," Villanueva said.
Thames' homer drove in Mike Carp and tied the score at 3-3 in the fifth.
Jaso's two-out single to centre scored Michael Saunders and gave Seattle a 4-3 sixth-inning lead. Kyle Seager singled to put runners at first and third, but Casper Wells grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
Brendan Ryan doubled and a broken-bat bloop to left field by Dustin Ackley off Aaron Loup scored Ryan for a 5-3 Mariners lead in the seventh.
"Again, they bunched some hits together to manufacture some runs," Farrell said. "They are playing with a lot of confidence.
"They're playing very well."
Villanueva struck out two and picked up four fly ball outs to center field the first time through Seattle's order. None of the Mariners made strong contact.
Beavan was almost as staunch while throwing 19 of his first 23 pitches for strikes. He allowed just Rasmus' home run, then retired eight consecutive before Rasmus singled to lead-off the fourth inning.
Rasmus was 1-for-12 his last three games before hitting the first pitch he saw Wednesday, the second pitch of the game, into the stands in right field for his 19th homer.
Farrell said pregame pitchers had found a hole inside, under the hands of Rasmus and he needed to adjust. Beavan threw a fastball there and Rasmus was able to hit it for a home run.
Edwin Encarnacion followed Rasmus by grounding into a 5-4-3 double play. Ackley did well to turn it with Rasmus sliding high and late into him. It was crucial since the next batter, Kelly Johnson, homered to center, putting the Blue Jays ahead 2-0.
Two of the first three hits Beavan allowed were home runs.
Mathis' sacrifice fly to deep center field scored David Cooper, who had doubled, to push Toronto up 3-1 in the fifth.
Ackley produced Seattle's first hit in the fourth with a single up the middle. Saunders followed with a single, but Jesus Montero grounded into a double play, during which Ackley scored to pull the Mariners within 2-1.
Toronto reliever Brad Lincoln made his debut in the seventh inning. He threw 1 1/3 innings without allowing a baserunner.