Blue Jays 7, Mariners 5
TORONTO (AP)—Alex Rios is coming around just in time for the Blue Jays to play spoiler in two cities.
Rios broke a tie with a two-run homer in the eighth inning to help the Blue Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 7-5 on Thursday night.
Rios went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs for Toronto, which will play a big part in the playoff picture with an upcoming road trip that includes series against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
“We’re one of the most important teams in baseball right now. In these next seven days we have a big say,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
Rios thinks his team is up for the challenge.
“I think we are going to do good. We are not a team that quits,” Rios said.
Rios entered the game in a 9-for-64 slump, and was benched last Friday for not running out a routine fly out. He tripled and homered in Monday’s loss to Seattle, his first game back from the benching.
On Thursday, Rios hit his 10th homer off Joel Pineiro (7-10).
The 24-year-old right fielder hit one homer in his rookie season. He’s happy with his progress.
“I don’t care if I had an all right season, I’m pretty happy with everything I did,” said Rios, who is hitting .261 with 59 RBI.
Pineiro allowed five runs in the first. Russ Adams and Frank Catalanotto hit consecutive singles before Vernon Wells hit an RBI single and Corey Koskie hit a run-scoring double. Rios and Gabe Gross hit RBI singles and Aaron Hill added a sacrifice fly.
“Maybe I should come out of the pen in my next game after that first inning,” Pineiro joked.
Pineiro gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings. He retired 17 of 18 batters after the first inning.
“I was able to settle down,” he said.
Seattle manager Mike Hargrove appreciated the effort.
“He saved us from having to burn our bullpen. We would have been in trouble the next four days,” Hargrove said.
2B Orlando Hudson missed his 13 straight game because of sprained left ankle. Gibbons didn’t know when he would play again although Hudson has been taking batting practice lately. … Ichiro Suzuki hit into a double play in the sixth, just the fifth time he’s done that this season.