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KC@SEA: Montero drills a two-run homer to left field

It's only Jesus Montero's second Major League season, and his first full one, but the Seattle designated hitter and catcher has certainly raked during the season's second half.

Montero's 0-for-4 performance in Sunday's series finale against Kansas City snapped a modest four-game hitting streak, but he is batting .352 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 14 games since the All-Star break. This production comes one year after he combined to hit .298 with 15 home runs, 11 doubles and 26 RBIs in 57 games between Triple-A and the Yankees.

"I'm just trying to be patient, to look for good pitches," Montero said after Saturday's win. "I know I'm in a hurry sometimes, and that's why I don't get base hits. So I'm trying to be patient and hit good pitches, and try to help the team to win."

Montero's success has helped lead the Mariners to four straight wins and victories in 10 of their last 14 games. Montero likely will do his part to help Seattle continue those winning ways in Monday's series opener against the Blue Jays and left-hander Ricky Romero. Montero is hitting .370 against left-handers this season. He ranked first in the American League in that category entering play on Sunday.

If that isn't cause for concern for Romero and Toronto, the lefty's recent work certainly is. Romero is coming off arguably the worst outing of his career, when he surrendered eight runs on four hits and six walks in a career-low 1 1/3 innings against the A's.

Romero, who has lost six straight starts, called his performance "pathetic" and "horrible," while Blue Jays manager John Farrell said the left-hander needs to bounce back.

"We have to work to get him right, there is no question about it," Farrell said after Romero's last start. "We have talked a lot about what his frame of mind is, and yet we have to work to rebuild that to get him on track."

Blue Jays: Janssen strong as closer
Casey Janssen is 13-for-13 in save situations since assuming the closers role on May 9. The 13 consecutive saves are the most by a Blue Jays pitcher since Billy Koch recorded 21 straight in 2000.

• Designated hitter Adam Lind was held out of the lineup for the third consecutive game on Sunday with tightness in his back. He is day to day.

Mariners: Iwakuma makes fifth start
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma gets the ball on Monday as the starter for the fifth time this season, still searching for his first win in that role. Iwakuma struggled with command issues and a high pitch count last time out, but still held the Yankees to one run in five innings. He has a 4.29 ERA as a starter.

"He's been consistent in regards to executing pitches and throwing the baseball where he wants to throw it," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "When he misses, for the most part, he's been missing in the right spots, and I think as the year's worn on, he has gained a little bit on his fastball, especially at the end of his pitches. He's pitching with a lot of confidence right now, and you can tell he's been pitching for a while. He has a veteran presence to him out there as well."

•: Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has allowed only three runs in his last 25 appearances. He has 14 saves and 35 strikeouts in that stretch.

Worth noting
• Romero allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Mariners on April 27. He is 1-1 with a 3.51 ERA in six career starts against Seattle.

• The Mariners have been successful on each of their last nine stolen base attempts.

• Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion has reached base safely in 28 of his last 29 games.

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