September 22, 2010 in Sports

Blue Jays pound 3 home runs in victory over Mariners

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Toronto’s Jose Bautista, left, celebrates the first-inning home run of Vernon Wells.
(Full-size photo)

TORONTO – Sidelined by a sore wrist when the Blue Jays visited Seattle back in May, Travis Snider had been waiting a long time for another chance to face his hometown team. When it finally came, he made it count.

Snider and Vernon Wells hit two-run homers, Edwin Encarnacion added a solo shot and Toronto beat the Mariners 5-3 on Tuesday night.

Born and raised in suburban Seattle, Snider grew up rooting for the Mariners but has yet to play at Safeco Field in his three big-league seasons. He went on the disabled list with a sore right wrist days before Toronto’s lone road series against the Mariners earlier this season.

That made this night, complete with his career-best 10th homer, extra special for the young outfielder.

“There’s a lot of friends and family back home that got a chance to watch the game that don’t get to see most of the games,” Snider said.

Snider lined out sharply to second in the first and came up empty after making solid contact again in the second, hitting it straight to left fielder Ryan Langerhans.

No one could catch Snider’s drive in the fourth, a blast to right-center that made him the ninth Toronto player to reach double digits in homers, matching a team record.

“On a personal note it’s great, but the story today is just getting the win and continuing to play good baseball and trying to finish the season strong,” Snider said.

Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski (2-4) gave up two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings to win for the first time since an Aug. 13 road victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Rzepczynski, who had not won in six starts, walked three and matched a season-high with eight strikeouts.

“I was able to throw my fastball more in the zone today and I was able to throw my breaking ball anytime I wanted to,” Rzepczynski said.

Shawn Camp got two outs in the seventh, Scott Downs pitched the eighth and Kevin Gregg earned his 34th save in 39 chances despite allowing Chone Figgins’ RBI single in the ninth.

Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki went 4 for 4 with four singles and a walk, leaving him three hits from 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons. Ichiro leads the majors with 197 hits.

“I don’t know how you pitch him, I don’t know where you play him,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “I really believe he hits the ball where he wants to. He just picks a spot and if there’s nobody there, he’ll hit it there.”

Jose Lopez went 2 for 4 with two RBIs for the Mariners, who have lost nine of 11 overall and 10 of 12 on the road.

Toronto leads the majors with 232 homers, including an ML-high 131 at home. The Blue Jays hit a team-record 244 homers in 2000.

“Sometimes you can live by the home run and die by it, too, but we’ve played pretty good with it,” Gaston said.

The Blue Jays had homered in 19 consecutive games before losing 6-0 at Boston on Sunday. They got back to swinging for the fences against the Mariners, the worst team in the American League.

Wells hit a two-run drive into the second deck in left in the first, his 28th, Encarnacion hit a solo drive down the left field line in the second, his 15th, and Snider drilled a two-run shot in the fourth.

All three homers came off Luke French, (4-6), who allowed five runs and seven hits in seven innings.

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