video thumbnail

TOR@SEA: Wells' two-run homer puts Mariners on board

SEATTLE -- All season, the common refrain for the Mariners has been, if they only had a little offense to go with their pitching, who knows what they could do.

On Tuesday, the Major League's lowest-scoring club continued its recent uptick with a core of youngsters helping produce seven runs and 11 hits. But on this night, the arms went wobbly as Toronto outslugged the Mariners, 13-7, to snap Seattle's three-game win streak.

The Mariners overcame a six-run deficit once in the game, but Toronto pulled away again as four Seattle pitchers combined to allow a season high in runs.

The Mariners started five rookies, one less than a night earlier when they wound up using eight total in a 6-5 victory. This time, the kids combined to go 8-for-20 at the plate with six RBIs and five runs. Casper Wells launched a home run for the fourth consecutive game.

But starter Jason Vargas surrendered a season-high eight runs on seven hits and four walks in just four-plus innings. And Seattle's bullpen didn't fare much better, with Tom Wilhelmsen and Aaron Laffey failing to slow the onslaught.

"Command is more of [Vargas'] ballgame," said manager Eric Wedge. "He was just a tad off tonight."

Vargas put himself in a huge hole with a six-run first inning as the Blue Jays got a bases-clearing double from Colby Rasmus and a two-run home run by Aaron Hill among four hits and two walks.

The lefty thought he could have helped himself out of the jam if he'd fielded a potential double-play hopper over the mound by Adam Lind that would have ended the inning. Vargas said the pitch to Hill was a pretty good cutter.

"But the fact is, that first inning, that can't happen and that's what killed us tonight," Vargas said.

Seattle fought its way back to tie the game at 6 after three innings, as Wells continued his offensive onslaught. Wells, acquired from the Tigers on July 30, hit a two-run blast in the second inning to join Danny Tartabull (1986) as the only rookies in club history to homer in four consecutive games.

"I don't know how to really describe it. I've never done it before," Wells said of his streak. "People asked me if I'd ever hit three in a row before the game started, but I'm not going up there trying to hit home runs. I'm just trying to keep a solid approach and get a good pitch to hit and luckily they're going over the fence."

Wells, 26, has sent five over the fence in a dozen games with Seattle after hitting four homers in 64 games with Detroit. Filling the designated hitter role on Tuesday, he's now batting .341 (15-for-44) with 12 RBIs for the Mariners while raising his season average to .280.

Catcher Miguel Olivo followed Wells with a shot of his own, giving Seattle back-to-back home runs for a second straight night and closing the gap to 6-3.

By the bottom of the third, it was all back to even as the Mariners pushed three more runs across against Blue Jays rookie left-hander Brad Mills on a walk by Olivo, his first since June 26, and four singles.

Trayvon Robinson, playing his ninth game since being called up from Triple-A, hit a two-run single with the bases loaded. Fellow rookie Kyle Seager -- in his 16th game in the big leagues -- tied the game with his first RBI on a single to left.

Meanwhile, the hottest rookie of them all -- first baseman Mike Carp -- extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a third-inning single. Carp, whose hit streak is the longest active run in the Majors at the moment, is batting .376 (38-for-101) with six home runs and 26 RBIs in 25 games since being called up from Tacoma.

But the Blue Jays blew it back open with seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings, highlighted by a 438-foot blast by Jose Bautista off Laffey for his Major League-leading 35th home run.

Wedge said he spoke after the game to Ichiro Suzuki about a fifth-inning bunt in which he was thrown out for the third out with runners on first and second to end what turned out to be Seattle's final rally. Ichiro finished 0-for-5 as his average dipped to .265.

"I want him to swing the bat right there," Wedge said. "I know what he's trying to do. He felt like the third baseman was back and he was trying to keep the inning going, and get to the next guy.

"But in that situation with two outs I want him to swing the bat. We talked about it. If it's a situation with one out, different set of circumstances trying to keep it moving a little bit with two outs, as good as hitter he is I'd still like to see him swing the bat right there. He understood. He understood and we just a quick conversation and left it at that." Comments