Mariners 7, Blue Jays 5
TORONTO (AP)—Richie Sexson just wanted to tie the game with a sacrifice fly. He did much better.
Sexson hit a grand slam in the ninth inning to rally Seattle to a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night, snapping the Mariners’ four-game losing streak.
Trailing 4-3 in the ninth, pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs led off with a single against struggling Toronto closer Miguel Batista (5-7). Ichiro Suzuki followed with a perfect bunt single—his fourth bunt hit since Sept 1.
Pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Batista intentionally walked Raul Ibanez to face Sexson, who hit the first pitch over the wall in right for his 38th homer, his third grand slam of the season and the ninth of his career.
“I was actually just looking for a fly ball there. That’s really all we need, just tie the game,” Sexson said. “It came out a little better than that.”
It was the third time this season Sexson drove in five runs.
“That’s my job. That’s why I was hired to come here, to drive in runs,” said Sexson, who signed a four-year, $50 million contract before last season. “I enjoy those situations. The guys did a good job to get on.”
A fan yelled at Sexson just before he homered and he heard him.
“Especially in here. You can here a pin drop in here,” he said.
The paid attendance was announced at 18,762, but there were a lot fewer people in the building.
Batista has blown eight saves this season—four since Aug. 23. He left without talking to reporters.
“Bad location,” Toronto pitching coach Brad Arnsberg said of the pitch Sexson hit out. “He’s trying to go middle in to Sexson there and he leaves it out and over the middle. You’re not missing by inches, you’re missing by a foot, a foot-and-a-half there and that’s not acceptable in a big league game. He knows that.”
George Sherrill (4-2) got the last out of the eighth and was the winner.
Eddie Guardado loaded the bases in the ninth and allowed pinch-hitter Gregg Zaun’s run-scoring grounder before retiring Reed Johnson on a grounder to short with runners on second and third to earn his 32nd save.
Toronto’s Alex Rios tripled and homered in his first start since being benched for not running out a routine fly ball. Manager John Gibbons pulled Rios in the first inning of last Friday’s game against New York, and general manager J.P. Ricciardi also met with Rios to tell him he won’t tolerate lackadaisical play. Rios vowed not do it again.
The 24-year-old right fielder entered the game in a 6-for-57 slump that included going hitless in his last 16 at-bats. He tripled in his first at-bat Monday and homered in his second to give Toronto a 4-2 lead.
Rios also left without talking to reporters.
“He’s going to be a heck of a player some day,” Gibbons said.
The Blue Jays scored three runs on five straight hits off Seattle starter Jamie Moyer in the third inning. Rios led off with his triple and scored on Ken Huckaby’s RBI double. Johnson followed with an RBI single and Vernon Wells added a run-scoring single.
“He got the ball up,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said of Moyer, who allowed four runs and six hits in six innings.
Jose Lopez’s two-run homer in the fourth cut Toronto’s lead to 3-2.
Rios homered to left center in the bottom half of the inning, his ninth of the season.
Yuniesky Betancourt tripled in the fifth and scored on Sexson’s RBI grounder, cutting the lead to 4-3.
Suzuki returned to RF after DHing the previous two games. Suzuki took a 90-mph pitch from Texas closer Francisco Cordero just below his right ankle on Friday. … Toronto 2B Orlando Hudson has missed 10 games because of a sprained left ankle. Gibbons said he might return by the end of the week. … Toronto SS Russ Adams ended an 0-for-28 slump with a single in the ninth.