April 11, 2011 in Sports

M’s late rally knocks off Blue Jays

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SEATTLE – Turns out, seven wasn’t as unlucky as it may have seemed for the Seattle Mariners.

Seven-game losing streak?

Seven-zero deficit?

Both were erased at Safeco Field on Monday night.

Luis Rodriguez fought off nine pitches from Shawn Camp before delivering a winning single, and the Mariners rallied from seven runs down in the final three innings to stun the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 and end their seven-game slide.

Camp (0-1) played only a part in Toronto’s bullpen collapse.

Milton Bradley hit a solo home run in the seventh inning and the Blue Jays’ bullpen began to waste away the lead in the eighth. A walk and two singles chased Davis Purcey and loaded the bases. Octavio Dotel walked in two runs and Mark Rzepczynski walked in another before allowing a single to  Justin Smoak that scored two and pulled Seattle within one.

But Miguel Olivo was unable to deliver again – he stranded two handsful – instead grounding into an inning-ending double play as To ronto clung to a 7-6 lead.

Michael Saunders led off the ninth inning with a double down the left field line and Ryan sacrificed him over to third. Ichiro Suzuki was intentionally walked and stole second to set up the game winning hit.

Josh Lueke (1-0) picked up his first career win.

Chone Figgins was handcuffed by a line drive from Jayson Nix that dribbled away and allowed Travis Snider to score and give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. The ball hit Figgins on the left thumb and he would leave the game in the fourth inning, being replaced by Rodriguez.

Jose Bautista singled on a ball deep in the hole at shortstop and beat out the throw by Brendan Ryan. After a strikeout by Adam Lind, Bautista was off and running on a hit and run and was caught in a rundown between first and second when Aaron Hill failed to make contact, but Ryan dropped the ball as Bautista slid safely into second.

Hill promptly doubled down the left field line to score Bautista. Hill then scored on a fielder’s choice by Snider that gave the Blue Jays a three-run cushion.

Encarnacion led off with a single and Nix doubled to put runners on second and third with no out. A wild pitch scored Edwin Encarnacion from third and a sacrifice fly by Yunel Escobar scored Nix to give Toronto a 5-0 lead. Seattle starter Felix Hernandez was done after the sixth inning after Corey Patterson added a two-run homer to make it 7-0.

Seattle had chances to score early, loading the bases twice in the first three innings. Olivo came to the plate with two outs both times and failed to get the hit to put Seattle on the board. Olivo stranded ten runners on base, six in scoring position on the night.

Gutierrez returns

Franklin Gutierrez returned to Safeco Field on Monday to continue his comeback from stomach problems that landed him on the disabled list, and two things looked very nice.

The 2010 Gold Glove trophy in his locker.

And food.

The Mariners’ star center fielder will work out with the team the next few days after staying in Arizona since spring training as doctors and team medical personnel zeroed in on why he has felt so badly after eating.

“Can you imagine feeling bad every day, every meal?” he asked. “It’s not easy. It’s a huge relief now that I can eat better and feel better.”

Medication has helped.

Gutierrez said he lost more than 15 pounds, but he’s regaining that weight and feeling stronger.

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