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Blue Jays 7, Mariners 2

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- The Toronto Blue Jays made an instant impact against Seattle starter Felix Hernandez on Tuesday, when they made sure to make it an early night for the usually reliable ace.

After Jose Reyes opened the game with a home run on Hernandez's first pitch, the Blue Jays breezed to a 7-2 win to hand Hernandez his first loss in the past 13 starts. Hernandez (11-5) matched his shortest outing of the season with a five-inning performance that saw him give up nine hits, fall behind 6-0 and eventually suffer his first loss since May 25.

Blue Jays starter Josh Johnson (2-8) was the unlikely winner, snapping a personal six-game losing streak while throwing five shutout innings of five-hit ball. Johnson struck out five while earning his first win since June 23.

Toronto piled up 11 hits, while Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio each had a pair of RBIs for the Blue Jays (53-60). Center fielder Colby Rasmus had two hits off Hernandez, against whom he is 5-for-7 in his career, and Rasmus stole a home run from Seattle's Kendrys Morales with an over-the-wall catch in the sixth.

The Mariners (52-61) have lost six of their past eight games. Four errors hurt Seattle on Tuesday, including two that were charged to third baseman Kyle Seager. The ugliest came when left fielder Raul Ibanez's relay throw in the seventh inning went into the turf a few feet away and rolled to center field, allowing a runner to score from first base as Toronto pulled out to a 7-0 lead.

Seattle didn't score until the bottom of the seventh, when rookie Justin Miller drove in two runs with a two-out triple off reliever Juan Perez to cut the Toronto lead to 7-2.

In his first game facing Toronto since being released by the Blue Jays in June, Mariners catcher Henry Blanco went 0-for-3 while recording the final out of the game on a pop-up into foul territory.

Johnson, who came into the game riding a six-game losing streak, got the unlikely upper hand early in his battle with Hernandez.

Two Seattle errors, Emilio Bonifacio's double and Reyes' RBI single brought in three unearned runs in the fourth inning, during which the Blue Jays built a 4-0 lead. The struggles for Hernandez continued in the fifth, when three consecutive two-out singles put two more Toronto runs on the board for a 6-0 lead.

Hernandez, who had allowed just two runs over his previous four starts, was replaced by reliever Carter Capps to start the sixth. Hernandez ended up allowing nine hits and six runs -- three earned.

NOTES: The Mariners optioned struggling closer Tom Wilhelmsen to Triple-A Tacoma, where he started Tuesday's game and threw two innings. Wilhelmsen is being used as a starter in Tacoma so he can get multiple innings of work, but Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson said there is no plan to convert him to a full-time starter. ... Seattle released OF Jason Bay and recalled Capps from Tacoma. The 34-year-old Bay had been designated for assignment when the Mariners activated OF Michael Morse last week. Bay hit .204 in 68 games with the Mariners. ... Reyes led off a game with a home run for the 18th time in his career and the first time this season. It was also only the second time that Hernandez has allowed a home run to lead off a game, with the last one coming from the Rangers' Ian Kinsler in July 2011.
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