SEATTLE MARINERS

Guerrero, Belt homer as Blue Jays hold off Seattle Mariners 4-3

Jul 23, 2023, 4:42 PM | Updated: 6:38 pm

Seattle Mariners Toronto Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero Jr....

Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. gestures as he rounds the bases vs. the Seattle Mariners on July 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)

(AP Photo/Caean Couto)

SEATTLE (AP) — Pinch-hitter Santiago Espinal singled home the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning and closer Jordan Romano escaped a ninth-inning jam as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 on Sunday to prevent a three-game sweep.

Toronto Blue Jays 4, Seattle Mariners 3: Box score

Seattle put runners on second and third with one out in the ninth, but Romano struck out Julio Rodríguez on a 2-2 slider and retired Eugenio Suárez on a flyout for his 27th save.

“It takes a certain kind of mindset to do that against the middle of their order,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “He seems to really kind of bear down and lock it in. He’s one of the best (closers) in the league for a reason.”

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Brandon Belt each homered for the second straight game, helping the Blue Jays rebound from blowing late leads in one-run losses Friday and Saturday.

It was yet another tight game between the teams. Ten of their past 11 matchups have been decided by one run or in extra innings, including all six games this season.

“That was a heck of a series,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Every game right down to the final pitch. Our guys really competed their tails off.

“You’re hoping (for) a little bit more magic there at the end. It just didn’t happen today.”

Toronto’s Whit Merrifield led off the seventh with a walk, advanced to second on Daulton Varsho’s sacrifice bunt and scored the go-ahead run on Espinal’s one-out single off reliever Tayler Saucedo.

Guerrero tied it at 2 in the fourth, lining a two-run shot that landed just over the right-field wall for his 17th homer. It was his fourth in nine games since winning the All-Star Home Run Derby in Seattle this month.

Belt hit a go-ahead solo shot in the sixth that bounced off right fielder Teoscar Hernández’s glove on a leaping attempt at the wall. It was Belt’s eighth homer of the season.

Seattle pinch-hitter Dylan Moore tied it at 3 in the bottom half with a two-out RBI single.

“It’s a back-and-forth game a lot with these guys, going back a couple years,” Schneider said. “It seems like that’s kind of the way we match up.

“Just glad to get out of here with a win.”

Mike Ford gave the Mariners an early lead with a two-run homer in the second, pulling a 407-foot shot to right for his 11th of the season.

Tim Mayza (2-1) picked up the win in relief for Toronto.

STARTING OFF

Toronto right-hander Alek Manoah allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings in his third start since returning from a monthlong demotion to the minors. The 2022 AL Cy Young Award finalist struck out six, walked four and permitted three hits.

Mariners rookie Bryan Woo (1-3) retired Toronto’s first nine batters but ran into trouble later on. He allowed four runs and four hits in six innings while walking one and hitting two batters with pitches. He struck out seven.

STREAK SNAPPER

The Blue Jays won at T-Mobile Park for the first time since Aug. 15, 2021. Toronto had lost its previous six games in the ballpark, which was once again filled with a large contingent of Blue Jays fans who traveled from Canada for the series.

JANSEN INJURED

Toronto catcher Danny Jansen exited with a bruised left forearm after being hit by a pitch in the fifth. He underwent X-rays, which were negative.

ROSTER MOVES

Toronto activated recently acquired LHP Génesis Cabrera and optioned RHP Nate Pearson to Triple-A Buffalo. Pearson took the loss Saturday, giving up four runs while getting only one out in relief.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP José Berríos (8-7, 3.39 ERA) faces Dodgers RHP Michael Grove (2-2, 6.40) on Monday as Toronto opens a three-game series in Los Angeles. Berríos has allowed just three runs in 18 1/3 innings over his past three starts.

Mariners: All-Star RHP Luis Castillo (6-7, 3.04 ERA) faces Twins RHP Kenta Maeda (2-5, 5.10) on Monday to begin a three-game set in Minnesota. Castillo and Maeda squared off last Wednesday in Seattle, combining for 20 strikeouts in a 6-3 Twins victory.

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Guerrero, Belt homer as Blue Jays hold off Seattle Mariners 4-3