Early on Saturday morning, the Mariners and Blue Jays faced off in bright, sunny Toronto. Two hours and 25 minutes later, Fernando Rodney shot an arrow into the sky and the Mariners were walking off the field, victors. The combination of Mark Buehrle and James Paxton made for a fast paced game that didn't see many runs either.
Entering today's game, Paxton was riding a 20-inning scoreless streak that was tied for the longest such streak since Hisashi Iwakuma strung 23 scoreless innings together at the end of 2013. That streak came to a close early in this game as the Blue Jays got to Paxton in the bottom of the first. A Josh Donaldson leadoff double, a wild pitch, and an Edwin Encarnacion sacrifice fly scored one run but Paxton escaped the inning with two strikeouts.
The Mariners struck back in the top of the second when Kyle Seager turned on an inside fastball and launched it into the second deck in right field. It was a good pitch by Buehrle right on the inside corner but Kyle was able to pull his hands in and turn on it with power:
Moving right along. With one out in the third, Chris Taylor hit his second extra-base hit of the year after Chris Colabello misplayed a liner to right. Rickie Weeks took a four pitch walk bringing up Willie Bloomquist. Willie's career numbers against Buehrle definitely earned him the start today and he had a chance to prove it with two men on. After a first-pitch strike, he barreled up a cutter that didn't break off the plate and mashed it to deep left center. Off the bat, it looked like he might have had enough for his first homer of the year but it was just inches away:
Taylor scored easily and Weeks motored around the bases to score from first and the Mariners were up by two.
That was all the Mariners would need. Paxton settled down and at one point retired nine Blue Jays in a row. He gave up a solo homer to Chris Colabello in the fourth but that was the extent of the scoring for the rest of the game. He would leave the game after the sixth, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks and struck out four.
The Mariners defense showed up to play today and there were at least four highlight reel plays made today and a number of other solid defensive contributions:
- In the third, Kyle Seager made a diving play on a hot-shot liner off the bat of Jose Bautista. Seager looked very good at the Hawt Corner today and showed off why he won the gold glove last year.
- In the fourth, a sinking blooper got past a sliding Justin Ruggiano but the ball fell straight to Willie Bloomquist who fired a strike to second to cut down Danny Valencia who was trying to stretch his hit into a double.
- In the sixth, the Blue Jays had two on after back-to-back walks by Paxton. With one out, Valencia smashed a liner towards right field. Before the ball could leave the infield, Robinson Cano stabbed his glove out and snared the liner, then nonchalantly backhanded the ball to Chris Taylor to complete the double play.
- In the seventh, defensive replacement Dustin Ackley made a nice sliding catch on a slicing fly ball to left.