SEATTLE (AP) — The only grumpy person in the Seattle Mariners’ clubhouse was Felix Hernandez, who good-naturedly griped when the thumping music was turned down postgame.
After all, the Mariners are enjoying making some noise.
Seattle won its seventh consecutive game and completed a series sweep thanks to John Jaso’s go-ahead single in the sixth inning and Blake Beavan’s 7 strong innings in a 5-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.
The winning streak is Seattle’s longest since an eight-game run June 23-July 1, 2011. Seattle is 14-6 since the All-Star break, which is second-best in the American League to Oakland’s 13-5. The Mariners have won 13 of their last 17 games, including eight of the past nine.
“I don’t think the clubhouse has been this exciting in a while,” Beavan said. “We’re all just jumping around like little elementary (school) kids in recess.”
Seattle has given up three runs or less in six of the last seven games. Beavan (7-6) gave up three runs and seven hits in his 82-pitch outing. He struck out four and is undefeated (4-0) since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma July 17.
After Toronto came after his fastball early, Beavan was able to blend in a slider to to keep the Blue Jays at bay.
“Obviously, we saw early on they were going to be very aggressive with him,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said.
Toronto starter Carlos Villanueva (6-1) threw six innings, allowed seven hits, four earned runs and struck out six. He went 4-0 and allowed just five earned runs in July. He featured off-speed pitches and was perfect in the first three innings Wednesday. But, Seattle was able to adjust to score four runs in the middle innings.
“Seemed like his fastball was his fourth pitch,” Jaso said.
Two days after being acquired from the Blue Jays for reliever Steve Delabar, Eric Thames’ two-run homer to center field off Villanueva drove in Mike Carp and tied the score at 3 in the fifth.
Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said Thames had “some thump in his bat” when he was acquired. Thames quickly proved his new boss correct with his fourth homer of the year.
“I went to the homer-less territory, from what everybody says,” Thames said.
Jaso’s two-out single to center scored Michael Saunders and gave Seattle a 4-3 sixth-inning lead. Kyle Seager singled to put runners at first and third, but Casper Wells grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
Brendan Ryan doubled and a broken-bat bloop to left field by Dustin Ackley off Aaron Loup scored Ryan for a 5-3 lead in the seventh.
Villanueva struck out two and picked up four fly ball outs to center field the first time through Seattle’s order. None of the Mariners made strong contact.
Beavan was almost as staunch while throwing 19 of his first 23 pitches for strikes. He allowed just Colby Rasmus’ home run, then retired eight consecutive before Rasmus singled to lead-off the fourth inning. Rasmus went 2 for 4 and is 5 for 7 in his career against Beavan.
Edwin Encarnacion followed Rasmus by grounding into a 5-4-3 double play. Ackley did well to turn it with Rasmus sliding high and late into him. It was crucial since the next batter, Kelly Johnson, homered to center, putting the Blue Jays ahead 2-0.
Two of the first three hits Beavan allowed were home runs.
Jeff Mathis’ sacrifice fly to deep center scored David Cooper, who had doubled, to put Toronto up 3-1 in the fifth. The Blue Jays ran themselves out of what could have been a big inning when rookie Anthony Gose broke for second after lead runner Rajai Davis bluffed a steal attempt. Davis eventually was tagged out in a rundown and left Rasmus standing at the plate.