Homers by Crawford, Narvaez help Mariners past Blue Jays
Seattle keeps rolling with 5th win in 6 games
Omar Narvaez and J.P. Crawford supported Justus Sheffield with a couple big swings.
Narvaez and Crawford homered, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-4 on Friday night for their fifth win in six games.
Narvaez led off the second inning with his 18th homer and Crawford did the same leading off the fifth, belting his sixth of the year.
The production by Narvaez, Crawford and Kyle Seager helped make up for a so-so performance by Sheffield in the first major league start for the pitching prospect.
The rookie left-hander surrendered two runs in the first inning as Toronto sent eight batters to the plate and left the bases loaded. Sheffield permitted one run and three hits for the rest of his outing, but his high pitch count ended his night after just four innings.
"I felt good all night. I felt like I threw some pretty good pitches and felt like I mixed in and out pretty well and stuck with the game plan," Sheffield said. "I left some pitches over the plate and mistakes get hit here. Learning curve but ready to get back out there and have a better showing next time."
Seager continued his hot August at the plate with doubles in consecutive at-bats along with a pair of walks. Seager started the day hitting .323 with eight homers and 18 runs batted in this month.
"We just didn't throw strikes. I think whatever inning that was where we gave up the four walks and the wild pitches and stuff, our bullpen just didn't throw strikes," Toronto manager Charlie Montoya said. "It was tough and it's tough to play defence when guys are not throwing strikes."
Teoscar Hernandez had two hits and two RBI and Bo Bichette collected three hits, but the Blue Jays were stymied by Seattle's bullpen.
Gaviglio off the mark
Seattle's bottom of the sixth took 30 minutes. It featured three runs, three Toronto pitchers, two run-scoring wild pitches and just one hit. Nine batters came to the plate and only a sliding catch by Hernandez in centre field kept the damage from being any worse.
Sam Gaviglio (4-2) recorded just two outs. He walked three and was charged with three runs.
"It's good to get it out of the way. Now it's go time. I don't have to worry about it or focus on it," Seattle outfielder Jake Fraley after getting his first major league hit in the second inning.
Servais said left-hander Yusei Kikuchi will move back into the rotation on Tuesday night when the Mariners host the New York Yankees. His opponent on the mound: fellow Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka in a matchup that is sure to draw plenty of attention back home in Japan.
Kikuchi was skipped this turn in the rotation in order for Sheffield to start. Kikuchi threw a two-hitter in his last start.
With Kikuchi returning to the rotation and the additions of Sheffield and Felix Hernandez, the Mariners will move lefty Wade LeBlanc to the bullpen.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Clay Buchholz is expected to be activated from the 60-day injured list to start Sunday's series finale. Buchholz has not pitched for Toronto since early May due to a muscle strain in his upper back.
Mariners: Outfielder Mitch Haniger has been slowed down by a sore back that popped up during his rehab assignment. Servais was unsure the severity but was hopeful Haniger would be able to resume playing soon. … Outfielder Braden Bishop (spleen) will be transferred to triple-A Tacoma to continue his rehab assignment this weekend. … Right-hander Chasen Bradford underwent Tommy John surgery last week.
Blue Jays: Toronto is expected to use an opener followed by Brock Stewart (2-0, 7.43 earned-run average). Stewart allowed three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in his last outing.
Mariners: Hernandez (1-4, 6.52 ERA) will be activated off the 60-day injured list to make his first start since May 11. Hernandez initially suffered a lat strain and had several setbacks in his recovery. He's expected to throw somewhere around 70 to 80 pitches.