• Summary: Jose Guillen had three hits and drove in two runs, and Jarrod Washburn threw six strong innings to lead the Mariners to their sixth straight win, 5-3 against the Blue Jays.
• Turning point: Richie Sexson's second-inning bases-loaded walk drove in the eventual winning run and Mariners pitching made the lead stand up.
• Hero: J.J. Putz, the Mariners' go-to guy all season, came through again in the late innings against the Jays, recording an impressive three-plus-out save for the seventh time in '07.
• Unsung hero: Washburn (7-6) allowed nine hits -- all singles -- but little else, scattering two runs over the six innings to post his second straight win.
• Figure this: The Mariners improved to 43-33, the first time they've been 10 games above .500 since the end of the 2003 season.
• Quotable: "We can't do that very often. I've said that before, but I really mean that. If we want to keep J.J. effective and rested, we can't go an inning and two-thirds saves." -- Seattle manager Mike Hargrove.
-- ESPN.com news services
Mariners 5, Blue Jays 3
SEATTLE (AP) -- Seattle manager Mike Hargrove knows he can't keep
walking to the mound and summoning closer J.J. Putz in the eighth
inning. Putz's perfect mark closing out games makes it hard to do
anything else. For the seventh time this season, and third time in his last
four appearances, Hargrove asked Putz on Friday night for more than
just his usual three outs. And again, Putz came through with his
23rd save, finishing off the Mariners' 5-3 win over the Toronto
Blue Jays. "We can't do that very often. I've said that before, but I
really mean that," Hargrove said. "If we want to keep J.J.
effective and rested, we can't go an inning and two-thirds saves." Putz didn't mind, especially since his effort closed out
Seattle's season-high sixth straight win and improved the Mariners
to 43-33, the first time they've been 10 games above .500 since the
end of the 2003 season. Seattle's six-game winning streak is its
longest since a six-game streak last Aug. 24-29. Putz entered with one out in the eighth and the bases loaded
after two walks by Brandon Morrow and one by George Sherill. Putz
got a popup from Howie Clark, but John McDonald grounded off
shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt's glove for an infield single that
scored Aaron Hill. Putz got out of the jam by striking out Alex Rios, who broke his
bat over his thigh. In the ninth, Putz walked Troy Glaus with one out, but got Frank Thomas -- who on Thursday hit his 500th career homer -- to ground
into a double play to end it. "It definitely goes through your mind," Putz said of facing
Thomas. "You just really have to be careful with a guy like that
and a runner at first. One swing from that guy can totally change
the game." Against Cincinnati last Sunday, Putz threw 1 1/3 innings, and
pitched 1 2/3 innings on Tuesday against Boston. He's retired at
least three batters in his last 22 appearances. Putz's clutch effort preserved the win for Jarrod Washburn, who pitched six innings despite a stiff back that flared up before the
first pitch. Washburn thought he could have gone one more inning,
but Hargrove was cautious. Washburn (7-6) certainly wasn't overpowering, failing to strike
out a batter and giving up nine hits. But all nine were singles,
and the Blue Jays only managed single runs in the first and sixth
innings. Washburn won for just the second time in eight career starts
against Toronto. "I didn't want to come out, but Mike said he owed me one,"
Washburn said. "It's hard to argue with him as well as our bullpen
has done this season. But I'm never really happy about coming out
of the game, especially when I think I have something left." After falling three outs short of a no-hitter against Colorado
last Sunday, Toronto starter Dustin McGowan struggled. McGowan (4-4) gave up a pair of infield singles in the first,
followed by Ben Broussard's two-out, two-run single that gave
Seattle a 2-1 lead. McGowan was pulled after the fifth, giving up
five runs and eight hits. In the start before his near no-hitter, McGowan lasted just 1
2/3 innings against the Dodgers, allowing eight hits and six runs. "He never could really get it going. I will say one thing, it
could have been a heck of a lost worse, that's for sure," Toronto
manager John Gibbons said. "He couldn't get anything
established." The Mariners added two more runs in the second, when McGowan lost his command. With a runner on second and two outs, McGowan walked Ichiro Suzuki and Jose Vidro to load the bases. Guillen
drove in a run with a liner to right field, and Richie Sexson walked on a 3-2 pitch to plate another run. Guillen also had an RBI single in the fourth, part of a
three-hit night. Toronto threatened in the sixth, getting one back on Curtis
Thigpen's flare that dropped into left field. But the threat ended
when catcher Kenji Johjima forced Gregg Zahn at third base on a
grounder in front of the plate, and Washburn raced off the mound to
catch McDonald's popup bunt.Notes The Mariners improved to 8-2 on their current season-high 12-game homestand. ... McGowan had won four of his last five decisions.