July 31, 2012 in Sports

Ackley, Vargas guide M’s sixth straight win

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Seattle Mariners starter Jason Vargas scattered five hits in seven innings.
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE — Dustin Ackley drove in three runs and Jason Vargas pitched seven strong innings to lead the Seattle Mariners to their sixth consecutive victory, 7-2 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

Vargas (12-7) allowed two runs and five hits. He walked one and struck out four. The last time the Mariners won six consecutive games was May 18-23, 2011.

Toronto starter Aaron Laffey (2-2) lasted just 4 2-3 innings, allowing nine hits and seven runs.

The Mariners roughed up Laffey for three runs in the second after scoring a run in the first.

Mike Carp singled, Miguel Olivo doubled and Trayvon Robinson had an RBI single. Brendan Ryan drove in another with a single to right field — pulling his average to .200 for the first time since April 21. Robinson then scored on Ackley’s grounder to first base.

Ryan’s three hits were his season high. He’s hit .279 over his last 36 games to raise his season average to .205.

Toronto’s Brett Lawrie, hitting leadoff Tuesday, had struck out five consecutive times in the series before lacing a double into the left-field corner in the third. His first hit in eight at-bats scored two runs — only because rookie Moises Sierra, who had singled for his first career hit, sprinted past a stop sign from third base coach Brian Butterfield and narrowly scored.

Vargas labored through a 30-pitch inning and had thrown 62 pitches by the end of the third.

But, Vargas then retired 10 straight before Yunel Escobar led off the seventh with a hit. Rajai Davis also singled in the seventh, though Vargas would rebound to get consecutive flyouts from Jeff Mathis and Sierra.

Laffey hit Carp to load the bases in the fifth. Brandon Lyon was summoned from the bullpen, and he allowed a two-run single up the middle by Olivo to make it 7-2.

Ackley hit Laffey’s first pitch of the game for his second career leadoff homer and seventh of the season overall. Ackley also drove in a run in the fourth on a fielder’s choice. Robinson hustled for a double to start the inning off.

Escobar hit a line drive that Kyle Seager caught to open the fourth. Seager was positioned in front of the third base bag and the force of the ball almost pulled his glove off and spun him around.

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