Vidro homers and Mariners end skid, beat Blue Jays

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TORONTO (AP)—Trade rumors may be a distraction for Jarrod Washburn, but they’re not keeping him up at night. They aren’t even getting in the way of nap time.

The veteran left-hander curled up on a clubhouse sofa for his customary pre-game snooze, then pitched eight strong innings to help the Mariners beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 on Sunday, snapping Seattle’s season-long seven-game losing streak.

“I’ve been sleeping all right,” Washburn joked.

The New York Yankees reportedly have interest in Washburn (5-9), who shook off the speculation to win for the first time in four starts. He gave up one run and four hits, walked two and struck out two.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t on my mind before the game with all the rumors and stuff that’s out there,” Washburn said. “I don’t know if anything is going to happen. It’s been on my mind, but it was nice to get out there and be able to forget about it for a while.”

Jose Vidro added a two-run homer for the Mariners, who won for the first time since beating Cleveland 8-2 on July 18. The Mariners are 2-7 since the All-Star break.

“Unfortunately we’ve had quite a few bad streaks this year,” Washburn said. “I can’t put a finger on why. We’re a talented ball club, we’ve got a lot of the right pieces in place. Unfortunately, things haven’t been going well for us this year. It’s nice to turn it around and get a W today.”

Washburn has allowed more than two earned runs just once in his past nine starts, lowering his ERA to 4.50. The difference, he said, is he’s “matured” by finally perfecting the change-up, a pitch he’s spent his entire career struggling to master.

“I’ve figured some things out,” Washburn said. “Mechanically, I’m very sound right now, being consistent every pitch, and that’s allowed me to get better with my off-speed pitches. My change-up right now is by far the best I’ve ever had.”

J.J. Putz worked the ninth for Seattle in a non-save situation.

Toronto’s season-high five-game winning streak ended, but manager Cito Gaston remains confident that his team is headed in the right direction. The Blue Jays have won 11 of 16.

“If we go two out of three the rest of the way, I’ll be real happy,” Gaston said.

With the game scoreless in the fourth, Jose Lopez tried to score from first on Jeremy Reed’s two-out double. Lopez was thrown out by right-fielder Kevin Mench.

John McDonald’s solo homer gave Toronto a 1-0 lead in the fifth, but Seattle replied with a four-run, bat-around sixth against right-hander Shaun Marcum (5-5).

Ichiro Suzuki drew a leadoff walk and scored when Vidro homered to right, his seventh.

Vidro ended an 0-for-11 slump by connecting on a hit-and-run fastball.

“When you’re struggling and you see a hit-and-run sign, you kind of shorten your swing a little more,” Vidro said. “That worked out good for me.”

Later in the inning, Kenji Johjima chased Marcum with a two-run double to right.

Shawn Camp came on and gave up a single to Bryan LaHair, but struck out Yuniesky Betancourt to end the inning.

Marcum allowed four runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings. He is 0-1 with an 8.70 ERA in two starts since missing 27 games because of a sore elbow.

“I wasn’t locating my fastball today and I didn’t do it in Baltimore, either,” Marcum said. “It’s tough to pitch when you can’t throw that over for a strike because they can sit on everything else.”

The Mariners added one more against Camp in the seventh on an RBI single by Lopez, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games.

“It says something for him that he’s got a little hitting streak going and you’re willing to take the walks,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “It was good baseball on his part.”

Suzuki tripled in the ninth and finished 2-for-4, giving him a combined 2,998 hits between the major leagues and the Japanese League. He has 1,720 hits for Seattle.

Notes

Seattle finished 5-4 against Toronto this season, their only winning record against an American League opponent. … McDonald’s homer was his first since May 30, 2007, against the New York Yankees, his only home run of the 2007 season. … Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus received the Ford C. Frick award at Sunday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

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