Seager extends streak with game-winning HR
TORONTO -- It took Kyle Seager awhile to get heated up this season, but the Mariners third baseman has carried Seattle’s offense of late and hit the go-ahead home run in Saturday’s 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Seager extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a 372-foot solo shot off the right-field foul pole in the eighth inning off lefty reliever Tim Mayza to lift the Mariners to just their fourth win in the past 14 games.
Seager, after missing two months with a hand injury and then getting off to a rough start upon his return, has hit .375 (15-for-40) with six homers and 13 RBIs during his hit streak and now is batting .242 with 15 home runs on the year.
Seager jumped on a first-pitch 95-mph fastball from Mayza and shot it off the strip of yellow netting that serves as the foul pole.
“He’s a tough lefty and I faced him last night and hit into a double play, so I knew he had really good sink and throws hard,” Seager said. “You’re better to caution on the side of aggression because when you get behind guys like that, it can be a tough outcome for you.”
The home run was the 190th of Seager’s career with Seattle, moving him past Alex Rodriguez for the most by a Mariners infielder. He’s now fourth overall behind only Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner.
“That is pretty cool,” Seager said. “I didn’t know that one. That’s definitely something I don’t take lightly and I”m very proud of that.”
Rookie first baseman Austin Nola also homered and had two of Seattle’s six hits in the afternoon contest, with center fielder Keon Broxton driving in two runs on sacrifice flies.
The win lifted Seattle to 51-73 on the year, while Toronto (52-74) fell to 12-7 in its recent hot stretch.
The Mariners went with an all-bullpen day, using seven relievers to cover the nine innings. Thanks to an abundance of off days, Seattle had been able to get by with a four-man rotation since trading Mike Leake to the D-backs on July 31.
Rookie Reggie McClain, who was called up two weeks ago, made his first Major League start and gave up three hits and a run in two innings. From there, manager Scott Servais deployed most of his nine-man bullpen, with only one pitcher used Saturday who was with the team when it opened the regular season in Japan in March.
Matt Magill, a 29-year-old acquired in a cash deal from the Twins in July, picked up his first career save by closing out the ninth with three strikeouts while stranding the tying run at second, striking out rookie sensation Bo Bichette looking on a full-count fastball for the final out.
“When you’re a kid you dream about finishing a game in a big situation,” Magill said. “You're always in the backyard playing and you say, ‘Tying run is on base, 3-2 count.' You always tell yourself it’s a 3-2, so I just brought myself back to that moment and said, 'You earned it, you earned the chance to be here so just give it everything you can.'”
Left-hander Taylor Guilbeau, one of three pitchers acquired from the Nationals on July 31 for Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland, became the 16th Mariner to make his MLB debut this season when he entered with two outs in the fourth.
Guilbeau was the 40th pitcher used by the Mariners this season, which ties the MLB record for a season. He’s the 62nd player to make an appearance for Seattle, two shy of the MLB record of 64 set in 2014 by the Rangers.
Guilbeau surrendered a 409-foot homer to Bichette in the fifth to cut the lead to 3-2 and Toronto tied the game on a homer by former Kentwood High standout Reese McGuire in the seventh off Anthony Bass before Seager’s game-winner.