Blue Jays-Mariners Preview

JORDAN GARRETSON (STATS Writer)
The Associated PressAugust 12, 2014

The Seattle Mariners' pitching staff keeps rolling along, and another impressive showing Monday was complemented by a big offensive inning.

Seattle will try to put together another all-around performance as it seeks a seventh win in eight games Tuesday night against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.

Felix Hernandez struck out eight and yielded one run over seven innings Monday in an 11-1 victory, his record 16th straight start with at least seven innings and two runs or fewer allowed. The Mariners (63-55), who pulled a game ahead of Toronto in the wild-card standings, own a 1.83 ERA while winning six of seven. Seattle's 2.97 ERA on the season is the lowest by any team since the Los Angeles Dodgers posted a 2.95 mark in 1989.

"We're fighting," Hernandez said. "We're going to continue to fight and do the little things."

What was more uncharacteristic was Seattle's seven-run sixth inning, led by Robinson Cano's 10th homer. It marked the club's highest-scoring inning since tallying eight runs in a 9-8 win at Houston on May 3.

Cano also doubled and is batting .382 over his last 19 home contests.

Chris Young (10-6, 3.27 ERA), who has been a crucial part of baseball's best staff with a personal renaissance season, gets Tuesday's start. He reached the 10-win plateau Wednesday for the first time since 2006, giving up three runs in five innings of a 7-3 victory over Atlanta.

Young, whose 22 starts are already more than he's had in either of his past five seasons, had been sidetracked by numerous injuries in recent years. Another victory would bring him one shy of matching his career-best total from 2005 with Texas.

"Just taking the ball, that was my goal coming in, just to take the ball every fifth day and go out and compete and give the team a chance to win," he told MLB's official website. "Thus far, it's been great. It's been an unbelievable season in that regard, relative to where I've been and the frustrating years I've had the last four or five."

Seattle has played well offensively with Young on the mound lately, supplying 19 runs of support over his last four starts.

Young has only faced Toronto twice in his career, giving up eight runs over 9 2-3 innings in two 2005 matchups. Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista are a combined 5 for 29 against him with nine strikeouts.

The Blue Jays (63-57) matched their season worst with three hits, one of which was a home run by Bautista. He has reached base in 20 straight while hitting .333 with 17 RBIs, but Melky Cabrera is just 2 for 15 during the club's four-game road losing streak.

J.A. Happ (8-6, 4.09) was saddled with the loss in a 2-1 defeat Thursday against Baltimore despite striking out a career-high 12 while allowing two runs in a season-best eight innings. Both runs came on a Caleb Joseph homer.

"He was fantastic," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Happ, who owns a 1.71 ERA over his last four starts. "That's a game you normally think you're going to win."

The left-hander struggled in his only previous start versus the Mariners, giving up six earned runs and seven hits over four-plus innings in a 9-7 defeat at Seattle on Aug. 7, 2013, though he didn't take the loss.