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Homers power 'host' Toronto Blue Jays past Seattle Mariners

By Gene Warnick, The Sports Xchange
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman delivers a pitch. File photo by Darren Calabrese/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/4b1000c38782fbdd4ce1088c62c93274/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman delivers a pitch. File photo by Darren Calabrese/UPI | License Photo

SEATTLE -- Safeco Field truly has become the Toronto Blue Jays' home away from home.

Marcus Stroman won his sixth consecutive decision and Toronto got home runs from Kendrys Morales, Ezequiel Carrera and Justin Smoak to defeat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 Saturday night before a capacity, pro-Blue Jays' crowd of 45,480.

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Stroman (7-2) went seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out six.

"It felt similar to a playoff game," Stroman said. "It's weird to have a road game like a home game, see all that royal blue (in the stands). It felt like we were at Rogers Centre. It's great to come out to the West Coast and see some of our fans out here."

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A "Let's go, Blue Jays" chant began with the game's first pitch. Seattle starter Ariel Miranda was booed whenever he tried to pick off a runner at first base. And the ballpark erupted when Roberto Osuna struck out the Mariners' Mike Zunino for the final out and his 15th save.

"It's not the same when you're on the (Mariners) side," said Morales, who used to play for Seattle, as did Smoak. "When you play on the other side and for the Blue Jays (the crowd) gives you a lot of energy."

Carrera led off the top of the eighth inning with a home run off Seattle reliever Tony Zych (2-2) to break a 2-2 tie. Smoak led off the ninth with his homer off Steve Cishek to give the Blue Jays an insurance run.

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Toronto's first hit of the game off Miranda was Morales' two-run shot in the fourth inning that cleared the out-of-town scoreboard in left-center field.

All four of the Blue Jays' runs scored via the long ball.

"We love home runs. We've scored a lot of runs off of home runs," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "I don't know if it will work forever, but right now it's working."

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Miranda, who was coming off his first career complete-game victory, allowed only two runs on two hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked five and struck out two.

He retired the first seven Blue Jays in order before running into control problems.

"Miranda wasn't as sharp as the last time out," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He walked a lot."

Trailing 3-2, the Mariners threatened in the bottom off the eighth against reliever Joe Smith. Guillermo Heredia and Robinson Cano led off with singles to put runners at first and second. Nelson Cruz hit a hard one-hopper to the left side of the infield that third baseman Josh Donaldson made a diving stop on and appeared to turn a double play. A video review showed Cruz, who has been nursing a right calf injury, beat the throw to first.

But Smith struck out Kyle Seager and got Taylor Motter to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

The Mariners tied the score in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Jarrod Dyson scored from first on a stolen base.

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Dyson led off with a line-drive single to center off Stroman. With Carlos Ruiz at the plate, Dyson took off for second. Catcher Russell Martin's throw was low and skipped into center field, allowing Dyson to take third. When center fielder Kevin Pillar overran the ball, Dyson came home to make it 2-2.

Seattle opened the scoring in the second inning. Cruz led off by grounding a single up the middle, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Seager's single to right field.

NOTES: Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista took two bases on a walk in the eighth inning, as Seattle reliever Tony Zych held the ball behind the mound while glaring at home-plate umpire Jeff Kellogg over his ball-four call. ... The Seattle bullpen had its four-game run of 13 consecutive scoreless innings snapped. ... The Mariners (31-32) failed for the fourth time to move above .500 this season. ... The Blue Jays improved to 4-10 against left-handed starting pitchers this season. ... Seattle 1B Danny Valencia, one of the hottest hitters in the American League since the start of May (.325 average, four homers, 25 RBIs), wasn't in the starting lineup Saturday. Manager Scott Servais said Valencia, who has been battling a wrist injury, needed some rest. Valencia came on as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning and flied out to center field. ... Despite the loss, the Mariners are 40-25 against the Blue Jays at Safeco Field since it opened in 1999, their best home winning percentage against any AL opponent. The Jays, who were expansion brethren of the Mariners in 1977, held a 70-56 edge across the street at the Kingdome, the Mariners' former home. ... Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (0-4, 5.33 ERA) is scheduled to face Mariners LHP James Paxton (5-0, 1.69) in the series finale Sunday.

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