TORONTO -- Don't look now, but the Blue Jays are going on a bit of a run, and they're doing it with six core players on the disabled list.
Jose Bautista and Kendrys Morales each homered, while right-hander Marcus Stroman allowed two runs over six innings in a 7-2 victory over the Mariners on Saturday afternoon. Toronto increased its winning streak to four games, and the club has won seven of its last nine.
Toronto has won three consecutive series for the first time this season and a 16-21 record brings the club back within five games of .500 for the first time since a 1-6 mark back on April 11. The most surprising aspect in all of this is that they've been able to do it without the services of Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin, J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez, just to name a few.
"Time will tell, but everybody is showing up here working hard and trying to win," Bautista said. "Nobody is here moping around, feeling bad for themselves because we didn't get off to the best start. We're just doing what we're capable of doing recently, more consistently, and hopefully, we keep that going."
Seattle is equally undermanned, but its struggles in Toronto extended into a third day. The Mariners entered this series having won four consecutive games, but they are now in danger of being swept in a four-game series for the first time this season. To make matters worse, Seattle lost yet another starting pitcher on Saturday afternoon, as right-hander Ryan Weber left in the fourth because of shoulder tightness.
Mariners reliever Nick Vincent was charged with the loss after he allowed three runs on three hits in the seventh inning, including Bautista's blast. The right-hander hadn't allowed a run over his previous 13 innings.
"Vincent has been throwing the ball great," said Seattle manager Scott Servais. "He's been one of our most consistent guys. He just got a couple balls up in the middle of the zone and against Bautista, that's wrong place, wrong time. It's one of those streaks we're in right now. As good as our bullpen has been, they stubbed their toe a little bit today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bautista's moonshot: Bautista put the Blue Jays ahead with a bang in the bottom of the seventh inning. With the score tied at 2, he unloaded on a 1-1 offering from Vincent and sent it over the wall in center field. According to Statcast™, Bautista's fifth of the year was projected to have traveled 430 feet and left his bat at 106 mph. It was Bautista's third homer over his past four games and Toronto's 19th over its previous 12, after hitting 22 over its first 25 games. More >
"He's on a roll," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's not missing [his pitch]. Some balls that he was fouling off, now he's starting to hit them. He's taking a good, healthy swing."
Morales' return: Morales was considered questionable for this game because of a strained left hamstring, but he was added to the starting lineup approximately one hour prior to first pitch. That turned out to be a very positive development for the Blue Jays, because in the bottom of the sixth inning, Morales tied the game at 2 with a solo shot to right-center field. According to Statcast™, Morales' seventh of the year was projected to have traveled 427 feet and left his bat at 106 mph with a launch angle of 78 degrees.
"Obviously, you never want to see that. This year with how many and how often, it's not a good feeling for anybody. We're in scramble mode, and we don't know what is going to happen, but we just have to do what we can do when we're called upon and hope he's all right." -- Mariners reliever Tony Zych, on seeing Weber become the latest injured starter
"Jose has been doing that for this team for years, since I was a little boy, I feel." -- Stroman, on Bautista's big day at the plate
TRAVIS STEALS HOME Devon Travis became the first Blue Jays player to steal home since Martin did it on June 2, 2015, at Washington. Travis' opportunity came in the eighth when runners were on the corners and Luke Maile took off from first base. Mariners catcher Tuffy Gosewisch tried to get the out at second, but all that did was allow Travis to take off for home on the throw. A strong toss to the plate likely would have got him, but Taylor Motter missed the mark by a couple of feet, and that allowed Travis to safely slide into home.
"I got to third and Luis [Rivera] said, 'He's running right here, you're going when his arm goes,' Travis said after the game. "I looked at first and it was Luke. No offense against Luke, he can run pretty good for a catcher, but I turned around and said, "Right now?" He said, 'Yeah, right now.' And I did it, I saw the arm go and I took off."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With a 3-for-4 day at the plate, Kevin Pillar finished this game with an American-League leading 47 hits on the season. This was his fifth game with at least three hits, and he also has scored five runs over his last three.
Segura went 2-for-5 for Seattle to extend his hit streak to 12 games and raise his AL-leading batting average to .366.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Mariners challenged an out call on Heredia as he got thrown out by Maile attempting to steal second in the eighth. But the call stood, and Heredia was the second out of the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Southpaw Ariel Miranda (3-2, 5.20 ERA) gets the ball for Sunday's 10:07 a.m. PT series finale at the Rogers Centre. The 28-year-old gave up eight runs on six hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings in his last start in Philadelphia. This will be his first time facing Toronto.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 4.05) will make his return from the 10-day disabled list when this series wraps up on Sunday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:07 p.m. ET. Sanchez has been out since April 30 because of a cracked nail on his right middle finger. He pitched in a simulated game earlier this week and has since been cleared for action.