Blue Jays 12, Mariners 4

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TORONTO (AP)—Josh Phelps earned more playing time with a career night.

Phelps homered twice, including a tremendous grand slam, and drove in a career-high seven runs to lead the Toronto Blue Jays over the struggling Seattle Mariners 12-4 Wednesday night.

Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said Phelps will likely start on Thursday even though Toronto faces a right-hander. Phelps started the season as the everyday designated hitter, but now only starts against left-handers because of his struggles.

“Hopefully, this gives him a boost of confidence. Maybe he’ll start to get himself back in there on a regular basis,” Tosca said.

Phelps’ second career slam came against Julio Mateo in the sixth inning and landed three rows into the fifth deck at SkyDome, just the 11th time a ball has reached the uppermost tier. He also accomplished the feat on August 29, 2002, against the Yankees’ Roger Clemens.

“That’s the farthest ball I’ve ever seen hit,” teammate Alex Rios said of Phelps’ grand slam.

Phelps also hit a two-run homer off Travis Blackley (1-1) in the fifth and added an RBI double in the seventh to become the fifth Toronto player to have seven or more RBIs in a game. Phelps finished 3-for-4, raising his average to .242.

“I’m not having the best year as of right now, but I don’t doubt my ability,” Phelps said. “This gives me a little pick me up.”

Seattle has lost five straight and seven of nine. At 32-50, the Mariners are 18 games below .500 for the first time since Aug. 7, 1994 (45-63).

“In a season of bad games that was terrible,” Seattle manager Bob Melvin said.

Toronto starter Josh Towers (3-3) won despite allowing four runs on 10 hits—all singles—in 6 1-3 innings. He stuck out two and walked one.

Blackley, making his second career start in the majors, gave up six runs— five earned—on seven hits in five-plus innings.

“We’re not playing any baseball now. It’s frustrating,” Seattle closer Eddie Guardado said. “When you’re struggling like this you have to stay positive. It’s not that we’re not trying, it’s just that it’s not happening.”

Toronto’s Dave Berg hit an RBI single in the third, but Seattle scored three runs in the fourth on Jolbert Cabrera’s RBI single, Scott Spiezio’s sacrifice fly and Pat Borders’ run-scoring single to make it 3-1.

Phelps homered with none out in the fifth after Rios reached on a wild pitch after striking out. Toronto added a run when Seattle third baseman Spiezio allowed a ball to skip under his glove for an error.

Blackley walked Gregg Zaun in the sixth and Eric Hinske chased him with a single. Julio Mateo relieved and hit Rios with a pitch to load the bases. Phelps followed with his slam, giving Toronto an 8-3 lead.

Rios added a bases-loaded triple off Shigetoshi Hasegawa in the seventhbefore Phelps had an RBI double.

Notes

Roy Howell has the Blue Jays record for RBIs in a game with nine on Sept 10, 1977, versus New York. … It was Phelps’ third multihomer game of his career. His previous came Sept. 5, 2002, at Boston. … Seattle has lost 12 of15. … The Mariners are 1-13 on Wednesday’s this season.

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