By Gregor Chisholm and Andrew Erickson
SEATTLE -- Chris Colabello hit a go-ahead two-run single in the ninth inning as the Blue Jays came from behind to beat the Mariners, 8-6, in the second game of a three-game series Saturday afternoon at Safeco Field.
"Listen, I think our offense is starting to click," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "I think we're playing extremely good baseball. Today was a hiccup. It was a tough loss, no question about it."
Seattle starter J.A. Happ struggled with his command and turned in his shortest start of the season, allowing three runs and four walks in 1 2/3 innings. Toronto's Drew Hutchison outlasted Happ but didn't fare much better, surrendering six runs (five earned) on seven hits over four innings.
"Any win is a good one, they're always a little bit sweeter when you grind it out," Colabello said. "Today was a grinder day. They're character wins -- whenever you're behind halfway through the game, sixth inning, whatever, and you keep clawing and scratching. Wins like this are always a little bit sweeter."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Colabello comes through: Colabello delivered the decisive blow in the ninth with a two-run single up the middle off Carson Smith. Josh Donaldson led off the inning with a walk and later advanced to third on a double to right field by Jose Bautista. Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon then called for Edwin Encarnacion to be intentionally walked, which loaded the bases for Colabello. That led to Toronto's fifth win this season when trailing after seven innings (5-38).
"More than anything, with the infield in, I'm more committed to going the other way, staying in the middle of the field," Colabello said. "Good things happen in the middle of the field. In an ideal world, I hit that ball in the air toward a gap, but thankfully I hit it hard enough to get it through."
Pinching in: Blue Jays manager John Gibbons made a curious decision in the eighth inning by lifting Danny Valencia in favor of the relatively light-hitting Carrera. The move paid off in a big way as Carrera sent a 3-2 pitch from Rodney over the wall in right field for his second home run of the year. Carrera became the third Blue Jays player this season to hit a pinch-hit homer, joining Encarnacion and Valencia.
"I was very happy, knowing that the manager put the trust in me to go over and pinch-hit," Carrera said through interpreter Luis Rivera. "After I hit that ball, I felt great knowing that we just tied the game in the eighth inning." More >
Sucre sends one deep:Jesus Sucre had gone 115 Major League at-bats without hitting a home run entering Saturday's game. Sucre changed that in a hurry, driving the first Hutchison pitch he saw in the second inning 387 feet for his first Major League home run. The solo shot to left-center, which cut the Blue Jays' lead to 3-2, was just Sucre's second hit of the season and his first since May 10. More >
Cano clears the fence: Cano extended his hitting streak to six games when he drove a 1-0 fastball from Hutchison 360 feet to left for his 10th home run of the season with two outs in the fourth. The three-run shot scored Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz to give the Mariners a 6-3 lead. Cano has driven in 11 runs in his last eight games and has launched six home runs in July.
"He's done a nice job," McClendon said. "I think all our guys, from an offensive standpoint, they're starting to come around."
"Well, he's not been good as of late. We'll have to discuss and try to get him straightened out somehow. They're tough losses." -- McClendon, on Rodney
"When I was out there, I'm competing and I need to give us a great chance to win regardless of anything else. Today, I was extremely lucky for the team to win in spite of me and in spite of the way I performed." -- Hutchison, who was scratched from a pair of starts this week because of a severe case of the flu
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Blue Jays have homered in eight consecutive games and have 13 over that same span. No team in the Majors has hit more home runs in the month of July than Toronto (186) since 2010.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Left-hander Mark Buehrle will try to make it 10 starts in a row with two or fewer runs allowed when the Blue Jays close out a three-game series against the Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field at 4:10 p.m. ET. Buehrle hasn't allowed more than two earned runs since May 29, and he has thrown at least seven innings in all but one of those ensuing nine starts.
Mariners: Right-hander Taijuan Walker takes the mound Sunday at 1:10 p.m. PT. Walker has allowed five or more runs in each of his last three starts after a stretch of 11 consecutive starts in which he allowed four earned runs or fewer. In his lone start against the Blue Jays on May 24 in Toronto, Walker gave up four runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings in an 8-2 loss.