TORONTO -- Left-hander James Paxton continued his strong recent surge on Saturday as the Mariners topped the Blue Jays, 3-2, for their second straight win at Rogers Centre.
Paxton saw his string of scoreless innings end at 20 on Edwin Encarnacion's first-inning sacrifice fly, but the 26-year-old Canadian wound up throwing six innings of two-run ball on four hits as he improved to 3-2 with a 3.52 ERA. Paxton is 3-1 with a 1.63 ERA over his last six starts for a Seattle club that is now 3-2 on this road trip and 20-22 overall. More >
"This guy is special. He's a good pitcher," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, who saw Paxton settle in after a quick mound visit following a leadoff double and walk in the first. "He got loose after that first inning. He's like most power guys. If you don't get him early, you're probably not going to get him. He started to settle in and get his lather up, and he got to 96, 97 mph pretty easily."
Veteran southpaw Mark Buehrle allowed three runs on five hits over 7 1/3 innings for the Blue Jays as his record dipped to 5-4 with a 5.13 ERA. Toronto has lost 11 of its past 14 games while falling to 19-26. More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Picking your spots: Utility man Willie Bloomquist had only 34 at-bats in Seattle's first 41 games, but manager Lloyd McClendon wanted him in the lineup against Buehrle, and the move paid off when Bloomquist launched a two-run double high off the wall in left field in the third to give Seattle a 3-1 lead. Bloomquist is batting .184 this season, but he's now hitting .438 (21-for-48) with nine doubles, a triple and six RBIs against Buehrle in his career. Bloomquist, getting his first start of the season in right field, also gunned down Danny Valencia trying to stretch a single in the fourth inning.
"I told [Nelson] Cruz, we found a power-hitting right fielder," said McClendon. More >
Curious case of Colabello:Chris Colabello went deep for the second time in as many games in the fourth inning for Toronto, driving a solo shot to left field to make it a 3-2 game. The homer came an inning after he misplayed a fly ball in right field that fell in for a ground-rule double in the Mariners' two-run third. Colabello had a similar experience in the series opener on Friday when he misjudged a sinking liner that proved costly in the Mariners' three-run fourth. He later homered to make it a one-run game. More >
Paxton gets some help: The Mariners lefty looked to be wobbling in the sixth when he issued leadoff walks to Jose Bautista and Encarnacion. Clinging to a 3-2 lead and with Tom Wilhelmsen hurrying to get warm in the bullpen, Paxton got Russell Martin to pop out to the catcher and then escaped the inning with a slick double play by Robinson Cano, as the six-time All-Star second baseman snared a hard line drive by Valencia and flipped to shortstop Chris Taylor to double Bautista off second.
"Regardless of my personal numbers off [Buehrle], he's a guy you just love competing against, because you know he's coming after you. He knows he's going to give up a few hits, but he's going to work quick and keep his defense on their toes and keep the game moving along. There's a reason he's as good as he is for as long as he's been. He goes out there and battles, and I love competing against him." -- Bloomquist on his long-running battles with Buehrle
"You wanna be a complete baseball player, save runs and get runs. If that hit had been a two-run homer to take a lead or something, at the end of the day, maybe I feel a little bit better about it." --- Colabello on his homer after making a defensive gaffe
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• When Kyle Seager hit his sixth homer of the season with a second-deck blast to right field in the second, it was Seattle's 53rd long ball of the season -- the second highest total in the American League. But 40 of those home runs have been solo shots.
The was some debate about whether or not Nelson Cruz beat out an infield single leading off the second, or if Buehrle, who hustled to first to cover the bag, had actually tagged the Mariners hitter as he barrelled down the first-base line. Cruz was initially ruled safe, but a 51-second review revealed that he was out, and the call was overturned. That saved Toronto a run as Seager immediately followed with his solo homer.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners:Taijuan Walker (1-4, 7.47 ERA) takes the mound for Sunday's 10:07 a.m. PT series finale at Rogers Centre, looking to gain some traction in what has been an inconsistent season. The 22-year-old pitched one of his best games in the Majors last September in Toronto when he allowed one run and four hits in eight innings in a 1-0 loss.
Blue Jays : Rookie right-hander Aaron Sanchez (3-4, 4.17 ERA) will make the start for Toronto at 1:07 p.m. ET. Sanchez threw his longest outing of the season against the Angels, going 7 1/3 innings while allowing three earned runs on six hits. Sanchez has battled with walks all season, but he appears to be steadily improving after giving up six on May 2, issuing one fewer in each of his last three starts.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.