TORONTO (AP)—The Seattle Mariners have recorded a major league-high 33 one-run victories this year. As the season draws to an end, they’re starting to pile up one-run losses, too.
Pinch-hitter Adam Lind(notes) had a tying RBI single in the eighth inning and Rod Barajas(notes) followed with a go-ahead double, helping the Toronto Blue Jays rally for another dramatic 5-4 victory over the Mariners on Sunday. Seattle is 33-20 in one-run games.
Toronto grabbed the lead with three runs in the eighth one day after Lind homered twice, including a game-ending solo drive in the 10th inning, to power the Blue Jays to a 5-4 win that included Seattle star Ichiro Suzuki’s(notes) first career ejection.
Seattle went 2-4 on its six-game road trip, including a 5-4 loss at Tampa Bay on Wednesday. In all three of those 5-4 defeats, the Mariners lost the lead in the eighth inning.
“On this road trip we’ve put ourselves in position to win a lot of games, maybe go 5-1 if we get out of the eighth inning,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “But we had three games this road trip with eighth-inning struggles. You can’t do that, obviously, against good-hitting clubs and good ballclubs.”
Toronto won six of seven on its final homestand of the season and finished 44-37 at the Rogers Centre, winning back-to-back series for the first time since June 5-11 against Kansas City and Texas.
“The whole homestand we played great baseball,” Barajas said. “We went 6-1, took care of the home crowd. It was great for us. Hopefully we can build on this going into next year.”
John McDonald(notes) started Sunday’s winning rally with a leadoff double against Ryan Rowland-Smith(notes). Jose Bautista(notes) followed with an RBI single and Aaron Hill(notes) walked before Miguel Batista(notes) came out of the bullpen to strike out Edwin Encarnacion(notes) and Vernon Wells(notes).
“He’s a tremendous looking hitter,” Wakamatsu said of Lind. “He’s patient, knows the strike zone, has the ability to hit the other way and has the power to deliver.”
Wakamatsu said he was reluctant to use closer David Aardsma(notes) for more than one inning this late in the season, particularly because the right-hander has been bothered by a sore neck for the past few days.
“When a guy’s pitching like Rowland-Smith out there, you need to be able to tack on some other runs with that,” Wakamatsu said.
It’s the first time Suzuki has gone without a hit in consecutive games since Aug. 13-15, 2008. He went 0 for 3 in Saturday’s loss before being ejected for arguing a called third strike.
Rowland-Smith (4-4) allowed five runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings.
“I ran out of gas in the eighth inning,” Rowland-Smith said. “I felt like I was good and then I couldn’t make a pitch.”
Johjima and Tuiasosopo hit back-to-back homers in the fifth, with Gutierrez adding his 18th of the season two outs later. Johjima’s homer was his ninth.
“That ball started out above my head,” Wilson said. “Following it down is the toughest thing about it, not knowing whether it’s going to be in the air or on the ground. One way or another I should have made that play. It ended up costing us a run and potentially cost us the game.”
Sweeney connected against Wolfe in the eighth for his eighth homer of the year.
A crowd of 39,052 boosted Toronto’s season attendance to 1,876,129, a decline from the 2,400,416 it drew in 2008.
NOTES: Seattle 1B Russell Branyan(notes), out since Aug. 29 with a sore lower back, is still experiencing pain and may not play again this season. “It doesn’t look real promising right now that he’ll finish the year,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. … Mariners 3B Adrian Beltre(notes) returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game with a sore left foot. Beltre fouled a pitch off his foot Friday. … Twenty-one different Seattle players have hit home runs this season, matching a team record. … The Mariners dressed their rookies in black and white cheerleader costumes for the flight home to Seattle. … Toronto LHPs Brett Cecil(notes) and Marc Rzepczynski(notes), who were shut down earlier this month after reaching their innings limits, have gone home for the year.