SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners had been waiting for a big day from Kyle Seager to spark their struggling offence, and they finally got it Sunday.
Seager hit two home runs and Nelson Cruz added another as the Mariners powered their way to a 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
“We had the Seager game today,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve been waiting for that one and Kyle was huge there.”
The Mariners had been held to three or fewer runs in 18 of their last 23 games, including three straight losses to the Blue Jays to begin the series, but got 10 hits Sunday as they snapped a five game losing streak.
“The at-bats were better. We made better contact,” Servais said. “We need it to continue. It’s been a rough stretch here offensively but hopefully today is a bright spot and we turn the corner here going forward.”
Toronto tied the game at 3-3 in the seventh after shortstop Aledmys Diaz hit his 14th home run of the season against Seattle starter Mike Leake, but the Mariners responded in the bottom of the inning. Cruz and Seager homered back-to-back against reliever Joe Biagini (1-6) with one out after Jean Segura led off the inning with a single.
“Today felt good and hopefully we continue to put up some good at-bats and score some runs,” Seager said.
Seager had gone 21 games without a home run before hitting his 17th and 18th of the season Sunday. He recorded his eighth career multi-homer game and his 31st multi-hit game of the season.
“He was due, there’s no doubt about that,” Servais said.
Zach Duke (4-4) picked up his first win as a Mainer when he got one out in the seventh for the win. Alex Colome pitched a scoreless eighth and Edwin Diaz locked down his major league-leading 41st save of the season as the Mariners avoided the series sweep.
Cruz finished with four RBI, driving in the game’s first two runs with an RBI single off the glove of Diaz in the third to go along with his broken bat home run that put Seattle ahead 5-3 in the eighth.
Seager hit his first solo homer of the game when he took Toronto starter Sam Gaviglio deep on the first pitch of the fifth inning, giving Seattle a 3-1 lead.
“You know where he’s always at in the middle of that lineup, and he can burn you, no doubt about that,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He’s dangerous.”
Diaz finished 3-for-4 to lead Toronto and accounted for all three of the team’s runs, scoring on an RBI single by catcher Luke Maile after leading off the fifth inning with a double. Diaz notched multiple hits in back-to-back games, and homered three times against the Mariners and five times during Toronto’s 10-game road trip.
Leake lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits and striking out five.
Gaviglio allowed seven hits while striking out seven and walking three against his former team, suffering his fifth straight loss. He made 11 starts with the Mariners in 2017.
Mariners: Second baseman Dee Gordon was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a sprained ankle and is day-to-day, according to Servais. Andrew Romine replaced Gordon at second base, and Denard Span took his place at the top of lineup.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman (4-8, 5.63 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday as Toronto returns home for a three-game series against the Red Sox. Stroman allowed four runs in five innings in his last start against Boston, a 5-2 loss on July 15.
Mariners: Lefty Wade LeBlanc (6-2, 3.95) goes for his first road win this season when the Mariners take on Texas on Monday. LeBlanc is 0-1 with a 4.57 ERA in 10 starts away from Safeco this season.
Erik Erickson, The Associated Press