SEATTLE (AP)—If rookie Mark Lowe continues pitching this well, manager Mike Hargrove is going to run out of glowing adjectives to describe his performance.
“This kid’s been golden every time we’ve brought him out,” Hargrove said of the 23-year-old reliever who has not allowed a run in 8 1-3 innings since being called up from Double-A San Antonio on July 7. “You don’t see him get excited, you don’t see him get mad, you don’t see him get down, you see the same face, the same body language and he throws the (heck) out of the ball.”
With one-out and the bases loaded, Lowe got hot-hitting Reed Johnson to bounce an outside fastball to second baseman Jose Lopez, who doubled up the speedy Lowe and preserved the Mariners three-run lead.
Closer J.J. Putz gave up two hits leading off the ninth, but struck out Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay, and got Gregg Zahn to fly out for his 20th save in 24 chances, giving Moyer his first win since June 24 at San Diego.
“It was a good night … but scary,” Hargrove said. “Playing Toronto, with the way they swing those bats is always scary.”
Moyer got plenty of offensive help as the Mariners took two of three from the Blue Jays and closed their homestand 4-2 to stay three back of Los Angeles in the AL West.
The 43-year-old soft-throwing lefty overcame a shaky first inning to scatter eight hits and give up four runs, while striking out three. In his previous two starts combined, Moyer (6-9) had allowed 13 earned runs, 18 hits and eight homers, including a club-record-tying five last Friday against Boston.
“Toronto’s a club that, of the teams I’ve faced this year, they give you good at-bats top to bottom,” Moyer said. “Regardless of the situation, they make you earn what you get.”
Toronto scored three times in the sixth to end Moyer’s night. Vernon Wells led off with a single and Glaus walked. Moyer stayed in to face Overbay, who ripped a single off the wall in right to score Wells.
Lowe came on with one-out in the eighth and walked No. 9 hitter John McDonald to load the bases before getting Johnson’s groundout.
“At the time I was upset,” Lowe said. “But I try not to show emotion on the mound.”
While Moyer rebounded, Toronto starter A.J. Burnett (2-4) was battered for six runs and 10 hits in just four innings, matching his shortest outing of the year, losing for the third time in his last four decisions.
He lasted four innings on April 21 against Boston.
“It wasn’t A.J.’s night. He had trouble locating the ball and (Seattle) came out firing,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “They came out aggressive and got some big hits.”
Toronto took a 1-0 lead in the first on Overbay’s two-out single to score Aaron Hill, but Burnett failed to capitalize. Raul Ibanez sliced a two-out RBI double just inside the left-field line to score Suzuki, and Sexson and Greg Dobbs following with RBI singles for a 3-1 Seattle lead.
Beltre led off the third with his ninth homer of the season deep into the Blue Jays’ bullpen. Seattle added a pair in the fourth on consecutive RBI doubles from backup catcher Rene Rivera and rookie center fielder Adam Jones.
Burnett was pulled, but Scott Downs was met in the fifth by Sexson’s 21st homer, a 430-foot shot that one-hopped the hitting backdrop beyond the center-field wall.
Burnett had pitched at least six innings in five of his six starts since coming off the disabled list on June 22.
Wells had missed the last two games with a sore back. He was the DH on Wednesday. … Suzuki successfully stole his 28th consecutive base in the first inning, tying the single-season club record held by Julio Cruz in 1981. Suzuki hasn’t been caught stealing since April 19 and has 34 for the season. … Toronto OF Alex Rios had an RBI double in his first at-bat in his minor league rehab with Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday night. Rios played five innings in right field and is expected to play one more game in Syracuse.