Mariners 7, Blue Jays 3

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SEATTLE (AP)—Even without his best stuff and a pitch he eventually stopped using, Joel Pineiro held down the best-hitting team in baseball.

Pineiro labored through six innings for his first win in more than a month, and Kenji Johjima homered and drove in four runs to lead the Seattle Mariners past the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 Monday night.

“Those guys make you work,” Pineiro said. “Having those runs behind me early was huge.”

Johjima hit a two-run single during Seattle’s four-run second and chased Casey Janssen (6-10) with a two-run homer in the fourth, helping the Mariners win their third straight.

Johjima was simply trying to hit the ball in the air with Richie Sexson on third base and one out in the fourth. The catcher got a fastball on the inside corner and lofted a high fly into the left-field seats for his 11th home run.

“I swung my bat and that ball came right to my bat,” Johjima said through a translator. “I tried to at least hit a sacrifice fly and just end up hitting a home run.”

Carl Everett had two hits, including an RBI single in the sixth batting right-handed. Everett entered the game batting just .174 from the right side.

Toronto’s Eric Hinske hit a pair of solo home runs, the only two major mistakes Pineiro made. It was the sixth career two-homer game for Hinske, and first this season.

Hinske’s first homer came in the fourth on a hanging curveball from Pineiro. He shelved the pitch after that, and relied on a strong changeup and slider.

Troy Glaus added an RBI single in the third for Toronto. Lyle Overbay and Reed Johnson each had two singles and a double as the Blue Jays got 10 hits off Pineiro but managed only three runs against him.

“He didn’t have his good stuff,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said, “He battled and pitched well enough to get us through six.”

Pineiro (7-8) pitched his way out of trouble with key strikeouts in the first two innings and a groundout in the fifth. He struck out Glaus with a runner on second to end the first, then fanned Aaron Hill to end the second with a runner on third.

In the fifth, Overbay and Glaus hit consecutive singles with one out, but Pineiro struck out Gregg Zaun and got a grounder from Bengie Molina to end the threat.

Pineiro finished with five strikeouts and won for the first time since a 9-4 victory at Dodger Stadium on June 20.

George Sherrill and Emiliano Fruto combined for three scoreless innings of relief to finish it.

“We hit the ball as hard as we have all year, but the bottom line is we lost,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.

Janssen’s trouble in the second started with walks to Raul Ibanez and Sexson, both on 3-2 pitches. Everett floated a single to right to load the bases and Johjima followed with a two-run single to center.

Everett scored on a wild pitch to Yuniesky Betancourt, and rookie Adam Jones capped the scoring with a single, scoring Johjima.

“It seemed like it happened so fast,” Janssen said. “You look up and it’s 4-0 and your back is against the wall. I put myself into some trouble and couldn’t make the big pitch to get out of it.”

Janssen allowed six runs and five hits in 3 1-3 innings, losing his fourth straight decision. After starting the year 5-3, the rookie right-hander has won just once since June 7.


Toronto’s All-Star CF, Vernon Wells, was a late scratch from the lineup after tweaking his back during batting practice. Wells was coming off his sixth multihomer game Sunday against the Yankees. After the game, Wells said he hopes to play Tuesday. Johnson moved from right field to center. … Blue Jays OF Alex Rios went 1-for-3 with a single as the DH for Triple-A Syracuse in a rehab assignment. … Seattle 2B Jose Lopez returned to the team after missing the last three games, but didn’t play. Lopez traveled to Venezuela for the birth of his son, Jose Lopez, Jr., and flew back to Seattle on Monday morning. … Betancourt had a 12-game hitting streak snapped.

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