MARINERS (51-73) AT BLUE JAYS (52-74)
1:07 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, OMNI, ROOTNW, MLB.TV
The Seattle Mariners (+1.5) will be trying to win the second straight series of their nine-game road trip Sunday afternoon, while the Toronto Blue Jays (-1.5) hope to win their second successive home series.
The Mariners forced the rubber match of the three-game series Saturday with a 4-3 victory. Kyle Seager accounted for the winning run when he hit his 15th homer this season with two out in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.
The home run was the 190th of Seager’s career with Seattle, passing Alex Rodriguez for the most by a Mariners infielder. He is fourth overall behind Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner.
“That is pretty cool,” Seager said. “I didn’t know that one. That’s definitely something I don’t take lightly, and I’m very proud of that.”
The Mariners opened their trip by winning two of three from the Detroit Tigers (+1.5). They complete the trip with three games against the Tampa Bay Rays (-1.5) starting Monday.
The Blue Jays opened their homestand by splitting four games with the New York Yankees (+1.5) before taking two of three from the Texas Rangers (-1.5).
The Mariners and Blue Jays are each 22 games below .500.
Toronto lost not only a game Saturday, but also rookie third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who left after two innings with discomfort in his left knee. It was the result of a second-inning fielding play, when he cut in front of shortstop Bo Bichette on Austin Nola’s infield hit.
“He felt a little tweak in his knee, so we took him out just in case,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He’s going to get an MRI to make sure he’s fine, so I’ll know more about it (Sunday). For anybody that complains that they felt something, we’re going to take them out of the game.
“Even this late in the season, we’re going to make sure.”
Montoyo felt that Guerrero made the right play in taking the grounder instead of Bichette, and the shortstop agreed.
“Every time the third baseman can get to it, they need to go get to it,” Bichette said. “I’m running away from first base, and he’s running to it, so when he called me off, it’s his ball.”
Guerrero hit a home run in the opening game of the series Friday, his first homer since Aug. 1.
The Blue Jays will go with an opener Sunday in right-hander Wilmer Font (3-2, 4.40 ERA), while the Mariners will start left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (4-8, 5.56).
Font will be followed by Thomas Pannone (3-5, 6.39). Font has not allowed a run in 8 1/3 innings of four opener outings for Toronto (three hits, two walks and 12 strikeouts). He is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in three career games (one start) against the Mariners. Pannone will face the Mariners for the first time in his career.
Kikuchi is in his first major league season after going 69-45 with a 2.69 ERA in seven seasons with the Saitama Seibu Lions in Japan’s Pacific League.
He won his third straight decision May 19 over a span of six starts but has struggled in 14 starts since. Over that span, he is 1-7 with a 7.50 ERA and has allowed 23 homers.
–Field Level Media