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Kevin Pillar's walk-off homer caps Toronto Blue Jays' sweep of Seattle Mariners

By Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez was activated before Sunday's game. He pitched five innings, allowing five hits with two strikeouts. Photo courtesy Toronto Blue Jays/Twitter
Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez was activated before Sunday's game. He pitched five innings, allowing five hits with two strikeouts. Photo courtesy Toronto Blue Jays/Twitter

TORONTO -- Kevin Pillar fled from his teammates after he had touched home plate on his game-ending home run Sunday afternoon that gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners and their fifth straight win.

The center fielder had planned to have a picture taken after the game with his mother, Wendy, and his wife, Bonnie.

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"I wanted to keep my jersey on because I told my mom we'd get a picture after the game," Pillar said. "It's the first time my mother has been here for Mother's Day, although she has been here before."

Pillar's fifth homer of the season, a solo shot, came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against Mariners closer Edwin Diaz (1-2).

"I went up there (against) a guy I've never faced before," Pillar said. "I've seen him on TV and watched a little video on him and knew that he throws real hard and has a good slider.

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"I went up there taking the first pitch. I wanted to really just see the ball out of his hand, feel a little bit more comfortable with him. He threw me a slider for a strike, I feel like I saw it pretty good. He threw me another slider for a ball. I felt a little jumpy. Right there I was just was just trying to find a way to get on base, I committed to fastball and he hung a pitch and a great way to finish off."

Said Diaz: "He was ready for that pitch, and he hit it pretty good. I left a slider in the middle of the plate."

Ryan Tepera (3-1) pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings to earn the win as the Blue Jays (17-21) completed a four-game sweep of the Mariners (17-21).

Jarrod Dyson homered for the Mariners to tie the game 2-2 in the seventh inning. Justin Smoak had hit a two-run homer to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead in the sixth.

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"The home runs got us today," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We made a couple of mistakes. Pillar's been swinging the bat probably as hot as anybody in the league."

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said, "You can't say enough good things about how Kevin's played. You can't forget his catch earlier in the game (in the fourth on Danny Valencia), too."

Aaron Sanchez returned from the disabled list to make his fourth start of the season for Toronto, and he allowed five hits, two walks and one unearned run in five innings. He struck out four. He first went on the DL on April 16 after developing a blister on his right middle finger in his start on April 14.

After having part of the nail on the finger removed, Sanchez returned for a start April 30 but lasted only one inning after the nail on the same finger split.

Sanchez admitted there was some blood on the finger Sunday.

"It's not an issue," he said. "There's no pain."

He said he put then finger out of his mind.

"I go back out there with the mindset as I would if there were no issues before," Sanchez said. "I felt if I went out there thinking about that, I was already defeated. So, I went out there, just compete, attack and not even worry about what's going on with my finger, just go out until I reach my pitch count."

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Seattle starter Ariel Miranda allowed three hits, three walks and one run while striking out eight in five-plus innings. He was removed for James Pazos after issuing a leadoff walk to Jose Bautista.

Kendrys Morales struck out, but Smoak lined his seventh homer of the season to left-center to elevate Toronto into a 2-1 lead.

"I thought Miranda gave us a very good outing today," Servais said.

The offense was a problem for the Mariners.

"That's really what cooled off obviously, our bats," Servais said.

Dyson tied the game when he led off the top of the seventh against Toronto reliever Dominic Leone with his first homer of the season.

The Mariners scored an unearned in the top of the fifth against Sanchez. Carlos Ruiz reached first on an infield hit to third. He was originally called out, but a Mariners challenge resulted in the out call being overturned.

Jean Segura, whose infield single in the first inning gave him a career-best 13-game hit streak, doubled to right field. Ruiz scored and Segura took third on Bautista's throwing error.

NOTES: Blue Jays RHP Leonel Campos was returned to Triple-A Buffalo on option to make room for RHP Aaron Sanchez (split fingernail), who was activated from the disabled list. ... Seattle RHP Ryan Weber (right biceps strain) went on the disabled list Sunday after leaving his start Saturday in the fourth inning. RHP Dan Altavilla was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma. ... Toronto OF/INF Steve Pearce left the game Sunday in the second inning with tightness in his right calf after sliding into second base on a double. He was replaced by Ezequiel Carrera. ... Mariners INF/OF Taylor Motter started at second base with 2B Robinson Cano (strained right quadriceps) missing his fourth straight game. ... The Mariners return home to play a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics with Seattle RHP Yovani Gallardo (1-3, 4.58 ERA) opposing Oakland LHP Sean Manaea (1-2, 5.18 ERA) in the opener Monday. ... The Blue Jays open a four-game home-and-series with the Atlanta Braves on Monday. Toronto RHP Mike Bolsinger (0-1, 3.18 ERA) will face Atlanta RHP Bartolo Colon (1-4, 7.22 ERA) in the opener.

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