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Dyson, Valencia ignite Mariners rally

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- A loud and boisterous group of Canadian fans made the trek south to turn Safeco Field into a pro-Blue Jays environment on Friday, but Jarrod Dyson and the Mariners spoiled their fun as Seattle pulled out a 4-2 win in the series opener.

Dyson singled and scored in the third, made an excellent defensive play to help prevent Toronto from scoring in the top of the seventh and then drove in the go-ahead run with another base hit in the bottom of that inning as the Mariners won for the 10th time in their past 12 games to even their record at 31-31.

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SEATTLE -- A loud and boisterous group of Canadian fans made the trek south to turn Safeco Field into a pro-Blue Jays environment on Friday, but Jarrod Dyson and the Mariners spoiled their fun as Seattle pulled out a 4-2 win in the series opener.

Dyson singled and scored in the third, made an excellent defensive play to help prevent Toronto from scoring in the top of the seventh and then drove in the go-ahead run with another base hit in the bottom of that inning as the Mariners won for the 10th time in their past 12 games to even their record at 31-31.

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"That absolutely pumped us up," Dyson said of the defensive gem that resulted in a relay throw to nail Kevin Pillar at the plate. "We're playing at home, trying to defend our home turf. They brought their crowd with them, but we're out there and not going to back down from a challenge even though we know how good those guys can be on the field."

The Blue Jays swept Seattle in a four-game series in Toronto last month, but couldn't carry that over to Safeco despite seemingly owning a home-field advantage with more than half the crowd of 33,518 cheering them on. Joe Biagini allowed just five hits and three runs over seven innings, but took the loss as he fell to 1-5 with a 3.38 ERA.

Video: TOR@SEA: Biagini strikes out five in seven innings

"I thought he was great. Really good against one of the top lineups top to bottom you're going to find in the American League," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He was pretty impressive."

Biagini's growth is apparent

Jose Bautista was 2-for-3 with a solo home run for Toronto, which fell to 29-32 with just its sixth loss in the past 17 games.

Rookie right-hander Sam Gaviglio continued his outstanding run as a fill-in starter for the injury-plagued Mariners rotation as he limited Toronto to two runs -- just one earned -- on six hits over six innings. The former Oregon State standout has a 2.79 ERA in six appearances, including five starts.

Video: TOR@SEA: Gaviglio whiffs five in six solid frames

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Perfect relay: The Mariners stayed within a run at 2-1 by denying the Blue Jays in the top of the seventh with a picture-perfect relay to nail Pillar trying to score from first on a double to the left-center gap by Josh Donaldson. With Tyler Cloyd making his first appearance in the Majors since 2013 in relief of Gaviglio, Pillar ripped a two-out single and then sprinted for home on Donaldson's line drive. Dyson nearly made a great diving stop on a ball with only a 21-percent catch percentage, per Statcast™. Instead, Dyson knocked the ball down, quickly picked it up and threw to shortstop Taylor Motter, who fired a perfect strike to catcher Mike Zunino for the tag on a diving Pillar at the plate.

"Jarrod Dyson played a great game tonight," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "A couple big knocks. He always does a nice job in center field. The relay was a big play in the game. If he lets that ball get off the wall, who knows? He has to dive to smother it, very accurate throw and Motter has a very strong arm."

Video: TOR@SEA: Motter's relay throw gets Pillar out at home

Back at ya: Pillar got a little payback in the bottom of the seventh when he threw out Danny Valencia trying to score from second, but only after the Mariners had taken a 3-2 lead with two runs off Biagini. Valencia tied the game on an RBI single to left. Then after Zunino walked to load the base, Dyson singled to center to drive in Kyle Seager with the go-ahead run, but Valencia was thrown out trying to score behind him. Pillar's throw home was clocked at 95.5 mph by Statcast™, the fourth-hardest throw home recorded this season in the Majors. The only harder throws have come from Hunter Renfroe of the Padres and Aaron Judge of the Yankees.

Video: TOR@SEA: Pillar throws Valencia out at the plate

QUOTABLE
"It's a little shocking. It was my first experience with it, so I didn't realize it was going to be that bad. It was a lot of blue out there. But at the same time, that's momentum for the home team because you want to go out there and just quiet the crowd a little. They were pretty loud. It felt like we were in a playoff game right there, but I liked it." -- Dyson on the crowd atmosphere

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cloyd got credit for the victory by pitching a scoreless seventh, with help from the relay. It was his first MLB win since June 6, 2013 with the Phillies. The last time he pitched in a Major League game was Sept. 29, 2013. More >>

Edwin Diaz notched his 10th save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth and struck out Pillar for the final out on a 101.6 mph fastball. That was Diaz's fastest pitch of the year, per Statcast™, and also the fastest pitch by anyone in MLB to strike out a batter this season.

Video: TOR@SEA: Diaz fans Pillar and secures the win

BAUTISTA BREAKS OUT
The Blue Jays slugger snapped out of a 1-for-21 funk with his solo homer off Gaviglio in the third inning to give Toronto a 2-0 lead. Bautista's blast over the hand-operated scoreboard down the left field line was projected at 413 feet by Statcast™ as he jumped on a 2-2 slider from the rookie for his 11th homer of the season and first since May 30. Three of Bautista's bombs have come against the Mariners as he went deep in back-to-back games when Toronto swept Seattle in a four-game series last month at Rogers Centre.

WHAT'S NEXT
Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman (6-2, 3.25) takes the mound in the second game of the Blue Jays' three-game series with the Mariners at 10:10 p.m. ET. The fourth-year righty hasn't been handed a loss since April 18 against Boston.

Mariners: Ariel Miranda (6-2, 3.74 ERA) starts Saturday's 7:10 p.m. PT game at Safeco Field as he looks to continue a strong season as Seattle's most-consistent starter in its injury-riddled rotation. The lefty from Cuba has allowed just seven earned runs over his last five outings, starting with a five-inning, one-run outing in a no-decision at Toronto on May 14.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. He covered the Blue Jays on Friday.

Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays