Mariners slam Jays with 8-7 win
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
|Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Jesse Litsch delivers a pitch against the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Seattle, Washington, April 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Robert Sorbo)
SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners came into the game as the punching bag of the American League having lost seven in a row.
But thanks to a horrendous job by the Blue Jays bullpen in the eighth, the Mariners were almost able to take a 7-1 deficit and drop the Jays to the mat with an 8-7 victory.
The game ended in dramatic style as Luis Rodriguez drilled a 2-2 pitch to left centre to score runners from second and third.
With two out and two balls and no strikes against Ichiro Suzuki, manager John Farrell elected to walk the gifted hitter intentionally. Two pitches later Ichiro stole second and ultimately Rodriguez delivered.
But it was the meltdown in the eighth that set the ball rolling.
After Justin Smoak hit a two-run single off Marc Rzepczynski to make it a 7-6 game, manager John Ferrell called on Camp, who has been lights out this season.
Camp needed just one pitch to pull the fat out of the fire as he induced Miguel Olivo to ground into a 5-4-3 double play, Adam Lind making a great scoop at first to complete the play.
That the Jays bullpen would implode to such a degree was a shock as it entered the game rated as the No. 1 unit in the league with a collective ERA of 1.11.
Up until the eighth it had been a walk in the park for the Jays.
Even the presence of Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez wasn’t enough to stop what is now an eight-game Mariners slide.
The Jays beat the living daylights out of Hernandez, clipping him for seven runs and 12 hits topped by Corey Patterson’s two-run homer in the sixth.
With a 7-1 lead lefty David Purcey could retire just one batter of the four he faced and was lifted for Octavio Dotel with the bases loaded. But Dotel didn’t have any magic this game as on consecutive 3-2 counts, he walked in two runs.
That brought on Rzepczynski who walked the first batter he faced on four pitches to bring in the third run of the inning. Then came the two-run single.
The Jays, who lost the final two games in Anaheim, opened a 1-0 lead in the second when Travis Snider walked with one out and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a double. Jayson Nix, who got the start at third in place of Encarnacion, then ripped a liner that Seattle third baseman Chone Figgins couldn’t corral, scoring Snider.
The Jays made it 3-0 with a pair of runs in the third.
Jose Bautista opened with an infield single and on the next pitch, a botched hit-and-run with Aaron Hill at the plate, Bautista was dead meat at second, stopped and reversed course. In the ensuing rundown, Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan dropped the ball while applying the tag at second leaving Bautista safe. Hill ripped the next pitch into left for an RBI double.
A single to right by J.P. Arencibia moved Hill to third and he came home on a fielder’s choice groundout by Travis Snider.
The Jays appeared to put the game away with another two runs in the fourth. Edwin Encarnacion scored on a wild pitch by Hernandez and Yunel Escobar brought Nix home with a sacrifice fly.