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Mariners, on cruise control, host sinking Blue Jays

Sportsnaut
Jul 7, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Eugenio Suarez (28) celebrates in the dugout after hitting a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Outfielders occasionally rob hitters of home runs.

They rarely give them away.

But Seattle’s Dylan Moore was the beneficiary of a miscue by Toronto left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. as the Mariners won the opener of a four-game series 8-3 Thursday night. The series continues Friday in Seattle.

With the Mariners leading 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the second inning, Moore hit a liner to left that appeared like it would hit about three-quarters of the way up the wall. Gurriel attempted to make a leaping catch, with the ball popping out of his glove and over the fence and into the Blue Jays’ bullpen.

“What a homer,” said Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales, who was the beneficiary of some rare run support while making his fifth consecutive quality start and team-leading 11th of the season. “It was pretty cool and our entire dugout was stoked because we got a break.

“So many times throughout the year we feel like that ball goes the opposite way, or it happens to us, or something crazy happens, we’re not catching a break. To get a break like that and explode offensively today, it was great to see.”

That play exemplified the way things have been going for the Blue Jays and Mariners recently.

Cal Raleigh and Eugenio Suarez also homered for Seattle, which won its fifth consecutive game and improved to 13-3 over its past 16 to reach the .500 mark for the first time since May 3.

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, have dropped six of their past seven games, scoring more than three runs just once in that span.

Toronto’s scheduled pitcher Kevin Gausman, who left his last start Saturday after being hit in the right foot by a line drive, had an MRI on his right ankle that showed a bone bruise, but no fracture. He plans to throw a bullpen session Friday and said he’s hopeful he could start Sunday or Monday.

“Like I always say, it’s about pitching and we didn’t get it again (Thursday),” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Right-hander Ross Stripling (4-3, 3.32 ERA) is set to start for the Blue Jays on Friday. He has faced Seattle twice this season as a reliever, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits in 2 1/3 innings. He’s 0-0 with an 11.81 ERA in three career appearances against the Mariners, with one start.

Seattle plans to counter with rookie right-hander George Kirby (2-3, 3.75), who will face the Blue Jays for the first time. Kirby didn’t get a decision his last time out despite limiting Oakland to one run on three hits over seven innings in a game Seattle eventually won 2-1. Kirby matched his career high with nine strikeouts.

Blue Jays outfielder George Springer was out of the lineup Thursday due to general soreness.

“He’s grinding it out, having aches and pains, and we haven’t been able to give him a full day off,” Montoyo said.

The Mariners activated first baseman Ty France, a finalist for the All-Star Game, on Thursday after a stint on the 10-day injured list with a left elbow sprain. France served as the designated hitter and went 1 for 4.

–Field Level Media