SEATTLE -- Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ pitched six scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season, Josh Donaldson drove in three runs, including a two-run home run in the first inning, and the Blue Jays topped the Mariners, 4-0, on Sunday to take the final game of
SEATTLE -- Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ pitched six scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season, Josh Donaldson drove in three runs, including a two-run home run in the first inning, and the Blue Jays topped the Mariners, 4-0, on Sunday to take the final game of a three-game series at Safeco Field.
Happ (1-4) allowed six hits against his former team, for whom he pitched in the first half of 2015 before being traded to the Pirates.
"He looked like the old guy, really, a jumping fastball, much better command," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Didn't use a whole lot of other things, he normally doesn't, anyway, but I think that was a step in the right direction, and it answered a lot of questions for me."
Mariners starter James Paxton (5-1) took his first loss of the season in one of his worst outings, allowing four runs on eight hits in a season-low four innings. The Mariners lost their first series since dropping two of three on the road to the Red Sox from May 26-28. The Mariners completed an 11-game homestand 7-4, despite dropping two straight to the Blue Jays.
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"They outpitched us today," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "They really grinded through some at-bats and got his pitch count up. Paxton wasn't quite as sharp as we've seen him be this year. … I thought the command with the fastball wasn't quite as on the edges like it has been.
"Pax was off to a good start. Everyone in the league knows who he is and they get geared up for him. Just wasn't on top of his game today."
Relief pitcher Emilio Pagan pitched four hitless innings, improving his ERA from 6.75 to 4.22, while striking out five and walking one. It was Pagan's fourth appearance of the season and first since being called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday.
"Pagan has thrown the ball really good the last few times he's been out there for us," Servais said. "To get four innings out of him was great. It helped save a few guys going into next series. That's really important. He did his job and then some today."
With the win, the Blue Jays finished their road trip 3-3 after dropping two of three against the Athletics. It also evened their record to 5-5 in June as they look to inch back toward .500 and pull out of the AL East basement.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Quick impact: Donaldson made his presence known early, driving a home run deep to right field off Paxton in the second at-bat of the game. His homer on a 2-0 fastball served in the middle of the zone provided the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
"I was trying to do damage to where I could hit the ball in the gap," Donaldson said. "If I clip it enough, maybe go deep. I was definitely on [fastball] at that point, because I know he's got a really good heater. As he should. I know he likes to go to it. He's blown me up a few times with it in the past."
Happ silences Seattle offense: Happ worked his way out of several jams during his stellar start. The most threatening came in the bottom of the third with the Blue Jays leading by 2, when Mitch Haniger worked a two-out walk and Nelson Cruz doubled to advance him to third with two outs. But Happ forced Kyle Seager to ground out to third to end the threat.
"I felt like we had him on edge the first three innings, we just couldn't push him over the edge," Servais said. "If we would have gotten a run or two across there early, it could have made a difference."
Blue Jays: The Blue Jays have an off-day Monday, then open a two-game set against Rays at Rogers Centre on Tuesday (7:07 p.m. ET), followed by another day off before they open a three-game home series against the White Sox. Left-hander Marco Estrada (4-4, 4.04 ERA) will get the nod in the series opener against Tampa Bay as he looks to bounce back from allowing a combined 11 runs over his past two decisions, both losses.
Mariners: The Mariners head to Target Field in Minneapolis on Monday for a three-game series with the Twins. Yovani Gallardo (2-6, 6.26 ERA) makes the start in the series opener on Monday at 7:10 p.m. CT.
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Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.
Adam Lewis is a contributor to MLB.com based in Seattle. He covered the Blue Jays on Sunday.