Mariners 4, Blue Jays 3
Yet Moyer has the numbers to show his way can be just as effective.
Moyer pitched six solid innings for his 131st win with Seattle, passing Johnson to become the club’s career leader as the Mariners beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 on Monday night.
“I think you have to be a little more hardheaded to do it my way,” Moyer said. “You have to push and have some longevity. You have to have the good fortune of staying away from injuries, as well.”
Richie Sexson hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs for the Mariners, who won their third straight, matching a season high.
“We really haven’t had any laughers and today wasn’t any different, but we’ll take the win,” Sexson said. “Hopefully, things will start turning around. Baseball is a lot about confidence and we’ve stretched a few wins together.”
The 42-year-old Moyer (5-2) improved his record in Seattle to 131-70 in 277 games. Over 20 major league seasons, he’s 197-147. Johnson, 41, was 130-74 with Seattle from 1989-98, pitching in 274 games. He’s 251-131 in 18 major league seasons.
“It would be neater to pass him at 300 or wherever he is,” Moyer said. “Randy did a lot of great things for this city and this organization. Just to be mentioned in the same breath, it’s a much smaller accomplishment in relation to where he is.”
Moyer allowed one run and four hits with two walks and two strikeouts, working curveballs and changeups to keep batters off balance.
“Same stuff,” Toronto’s Vernon Wells said. “He mixes speeds. That’s what he has done and that’s why he’s been successful his whole career.”
When Moyer was asked what the record means to him, he spoke of having the longevity to achieve it and teammates who helped make it possible. He also said he was most proud of being able to take the ball every fifth day.
“You’re going to the post each time you’re asked to go,” he said. “To me, that’s a big responsibility.”
Reliever Julio Mateo made things interesting when he gave up two solo homers while recording only two outs in the seventh.
“If I’d have had a gun, I’d have probably shot him,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove joked. “Julio didn’t mean to hang those two breaking balls. They hit them, but we have a lot of confidence in Julio. We’ll run him out there again.”
Pinch-hitter Orlando Hudson led off the seventh with a homer to right. Two outs later, Reed Johnson went deep to left to get the Blue Jays within 4-3. Mateo was pulled for J.J. Putz, who got Aaron Hill to ground out.
Putz and Matt Thornton combined for 1 1-3 scoreless innings, then turned it over to closer Eddie Guardado. Making his 700th appearance, he worked a perfect ninth for his 14th save in 15 opportunities.
Moyer outlasted Toronto’s Ted Lilly (3-5), another lefty. It shaped up as a pitching duel through the early innings, until the Mariners took a 3-0 lead in the fourth.
“Moyer is always going to hold you down. You aren’t going to score a lot off him,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “We just got outpitched and outplayed.”
Randy Winn singled to center leading off, the first hit Lilly allowed. Adrian Beltre grounded to first—bouncing it off Lilly’s knee—before Sexson drove an 0-1 pitch an estimated 428 feet into the upper deck in left.
“I hit it pretty good,” Sexson said. “I was looking in that area. He had thrown one just a hair higher the pitch before.”
Lilly, who had won two straight starts, pitched 4 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and six hits with three walks and three strikeouts. The Blue Jays dropped to 5-5 when he starts.
“I wish I’d had a little better damage control,” Lilly said.
Sexson hit a one-out RBI single in Seattle’s half of the fifth, putting the Mariners up 4-1. Ichiro Suzuki led off with a single to center, Winn walked, and Suzuki reached third when Beltre flied to center.
Reed made a backpedaling catch to take a hit from Wells for the third out in the fourth. Reed was greeted with a standing ovation as he arrived at the dugout. … Hudson’s homer was the first pinch-hit shot for the Blue Jays this season, as well as the first of his career. … Beltre is five hits from 1,000 and Suzuki needs 11. … The Mariners are 4-1 with 42-year-old Pat Borders catching. He was obtained in a May 19 cash trade with Milwaukee.