Toronto — Kyle Seager went 3-for-4 and hit a two-run homer and Felix Hernandez shined over eight scoreless frames as the Seattle Mariners defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-0, Friday in the first of a three-game set at Rogers Centre.
Hernandez (4-2) allowed just five hits and struck out seven for the Mariners, who have won six of eight. The righty is 3-0 over his last four starts while allowing just two earned runs over 30 innings to go along with 35 strikeouts and only two walks.
“A great performance,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said of Hernandez. “He put the ball on the ground a lot and we had some big double plays.”
Jason Bay hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot to right, and Dustin Ackley had two hits and an RBI in the victory.
Toronto starter Ricky Romero (0-1) walked three and allowed three runs on three hits over four innings in his first start of the season. The Jays have dropped seven of their last eight.
Romero cruised through the first three frames, but ran into some trouble in a doomed fourth inning. Michael Saunders walked to lead off the frame and Seager followed with a blast to right that landed in the second row of the upper deck to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Romero’s next pitch hit Kendrys Morales, who then advanced to second on a wild throw. After Michael Morse struck out, Romero continued to struggle and walked the next two batters to load the bases. Ackley made him pay, and poked a single through the right side to make it 3-0.
The stress of the inning proved to be too much for Romero, who threw 70 pitches on the night. Aaron Loup replaced him, but soon served up a solo shot to Bay in the sixth which made it 4-0.
Toronto threatened in the eighth after Adam Lind sparked the team with a leadoff double to right-center. Colby Rasmus then moved him to third with a single to right, but Seattle’s defense came up big.
Maicer Izturis smacked a lined shot, but it went right to Seager, who caught the ball and doubled-up Rasmus at first. The next batter, Munenori Kawasaki, grounded out to Seager to end the inning.
Hernandez threw just 95 pitches, but was replaced by Tom Wilhelmsen, who secured the victory in the ninth.
“(Hernandez) was done,” Wedge added. “He had enough. I went down and talked to him.”
Seattle was originally set to face Josh Johnson, but the Blue Jays placed him on the 15-day disabled list Thursday due to inflammation in his right triceps … It was Hernandez’s 66th career start which lasted eight innings with two or less runs allowed — good for the best mark in the majors since his debut in 2005 … Entering the game, Hernandez had gone 3-4 with a 5.13 earned run average in nine starts against Toronto. His ERA this season is 1.60.