A sudden burst of offense has helped the Toronto Blue Jays match their longest winning streak of the year. Another such effort could lead them to their lengthiest run in over four years.
The surging Blue Jays will try to pick up their sixth straight victory, while handing the Seattle Mariners their eighth consecutive loss in the conclusion of their three-game series on Sunday at Rogers Centre.
Though Toronto (53-51) is among the lowest-scoring teams in the AL with 451 runs, the club has averaged 7.0 during its season high-tying five-game winning streak. The Blue Jays haven’t won six in a row since May 4-10, 2004.
After getting 11 hits in Friday’s 5-4, 10-inning series-opening win, the Blue Jays notched 10 in an 8-3 victory on Saturday. It was their 11th win in 15 games overall and their ninth triumph in 10 contests at home.
Alex Rios homered twice and finished with three RBIs, and has gone 11-for-32 (.344) with four homers and eight RBIs over his last seven games.
“He’s starting to get that swing back from last year,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “He’s a big part of this team. We need him to step up and he’s stepping up.”
Rios has hit .389 (7-for-18) with a homer versus Seattle starter Jarrod Washburn (4-9, 4.75 ERA).
Washburn looks to help the Mariners—owners of the AL’s worst record at 38-65—avert their first eight-game slide since dropping nine in a row Aug. 25-Sept. 2, a stretch capped by a three-game sweep at Toronto.
The left-hander has conceded two earned runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts, but is 2-2 in that stretch. He gave up two runs and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings of a 4-0 home loss to Boston on Monday.
“He has given us a chance to win the ballgame just about every time out there,” interim manager Jim Riggleman told the Mariners’ official Web site.
Washburn yielded two runs over six innings in a 4-2 home win over the Blue Jays on July 2, improving to 3-7 with a 4.62 ERA in 11 career starts versus Toronto.
The Mariners’ Jose Lopez homered and drove in three runs on Saturday, and has gone 17-for-55 (.309) during his career-best 13-game hitting streak.
Lopez, though, is 1-for-7 versus Toronto’s Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.05), who is 0-1 with a 3.98 ERA in five outings since beating Kansas City on May 26.
The right-hander allowed six earned runs and eight hits - three homers - in 4 2-3 innings on Tuesday at Baltimore in his first start since being sidelined over a month due to a strained right elbow. He left without a decision as the Blue Jays won 10-8.
“My arm felt good, and everything with my mechanics felt good,” Marcum told the Blue Jays’ official Web site.
Marcum is 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA in seven appearances versus the Mariners. He struck out a season high-tying nine in seven innings, but finished without a decision in a 2-1 home loss to them on June 11 after allowing a run and seven hits.