By Dhiren Mahiban and Alykhan Ravjiani
TORONTO -- J.A. Happ battled his way through six scoreless innings while Edwin Encarnacion reached another milestone on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre as the Blue Jays one-hit the Mariners in a 2-0 victory.
Despite walking four batters, hitting one and throwing just 54 of his 103 pitches for strikes, Happ limited his former team to just a third-inning single and set a career high with his 13th victory of the season.
"He's having a tremendous year," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's a really different pitcher than he used to be. I thought he was off early in the game, and then you look up and he's only given up a hit. I thought he got better as the game went on."
The veteran left-hander -- who started 2015 with the Mariners before getting traded midseason -- won his seventh consecutive decision and helped the Blue Jays avoid their first series sweep since mid-May.
"You try to put that out of your mind, but after being in the other dugout for four months it is a little different facing those guys," Happ said. "That's kind of the way it is."
Encarnacion provided the Blue Jays with all the offense they would need, taking Mariners starter Wade Miley deep in the fourth inning. The home run was Encarnacion's 224th with the Blue Jays, placing him alone in third on the team's all-time home run list behind Carlos Delgado (336) and teammate Jose Bautista (255).
A day after Toronto's bullpen allowed a season-high eight earned runs, a trio of Blue Jays relievers finished off the one-hit effort. Left-hander Brett Cecil tossed a scoreless seventh inning, allowing just a walk, and righties Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna pitched a perfect inning each.
"That's the beauty of baseball," Gibbons said. "After what happened yesterday, you can turn around and throw a one-hit shutout. Today was also a game where guys were pitching out of necessity, because we were pretty beat up down in the bullpen."
Miley was the tough-luck loser for the Mariners, suffering his sixth consecutive defeat despite keeping the Blue Jays at bay for the majority of the afternoon. The 29-year-old left-hander allowed only four hits in his six innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Ed-wing: Encarnacion's home run was his 27th of the season. According to Statcast™, Encarnacion's liner traveled a projected 427 feet and left the bat at 110 mph. It was also his Major League-leading 87th RBI of the year.
Missed opportunity: The Mariners had an excellent opportunity to get to Happ in the fourth, but the meat of the lineup was unable to deliver. After Happ walked Chris Iannetta and hit Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Dae-Ho Lee both went down on strikes. Kyle Seager then flied out to end the inning.
"I think that really set the tone, especially for him," Blue Jays catcher Josh Thole said. "That was the inning that kind of got him right where he needed to be."
Insurance: The Blue Jays added their second run of the game in the sixth inning. After Thole hit a leadoff double and advanced to third on a fielder's choice by Darwin Barney, Josh Donaldson's double-play ball brought home the insurance run before the Blue Jays' pitching staff took care of the rest.
"You can't lead the league in doubles if you hit some triples." -- Thole, on if he thought about going to third base on his sixth-inning double
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Including Happ's outing on Sunday, the Blue Jays' rotation leads the Major Leagues with 63 quality starts this season.
The Blue Jays' win on Sunday was their first when scoring two runs or fewer this season (1-23).
The Mariners thought they caught Thole trying to advance to third on Barney's ground ball in the sixth, but after review, the call was confirmed.
PILLAR CELEBRATES BOBBLEHEAD DAY IN STYLE
Sunday afternoon was Kevin Pillar bobblehead day at Rogers Centre. The 27-year-old center fielder was presented his Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award before the game and had his father, Mike, and brother, Michael, throw out the first pitches. Pillar finished the game 1-for-3 and made a pair of his patented defensive plays. The 32nd-round pick in the 2011 Draft had a group of 20 relatives and close friends make the trip.
"It was special for me to have my family there," Pillar said. "It already topped off what was going to be a pretty special day. I would be lying if I said it was going to be something that I dreamed of having, but I knew in baseball that's a thing, and to be honored and get one is really special, especially from where I was at several years ago; not playing every day and not knowing where my future was in this organization. To see the crowd and this ovation means the world to me."
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners:Felix Hernandez (4-4, 3.23 ERA) takes the mound on Tuesday when Seattle opens a two-game set in Pittsburgh, with first pitch set for 4:05 p.m. PT. Hernandez allowed five earned runs on 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings while striking out two and walking two in his first start back from a calf injury last Wednesday against the White Sox.
Blue Jays: All-Star right-hander Aaron Sanchez (10-1, 2.87 ERA) gets the ball in Toronto's series opener against the Padres on Monday, with first pitch set for 7:07 p.m. ET. Sanchez picked up right where he left off before the All-Star break in his last outing against the D-backs, holding Arizona to one run on six hits last Tuesday.