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Sports >  Seattle Mariners

Nelson Cruz has two homers, seven RBIs as Mariners thump Blue Jays

Seattle’s Nelson Cruz watches his three-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the eighth inning Saturday in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill / Associated Press)
Seattle’s Nelson Cruz watches his three-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the eighth inning Saturday in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill / Associated Press)
By Ian Harrison Associated Press

TORONTO – Mariners hitting coach Edgar Martinez is away from the team this weekend so he can watch friend and former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Seattle’s batters seem be faring just fine without him.

Hisashi Iwakuma pitched six innings to win his fifth straight start, Nelson Cruz hit his ninth career grand slam and homered twice, and the Mariners matched a season high with 19 hits Saturday in a 14-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Cruz hit his slam off R.A. Dickey in the third, and had a three-run drive off Drew Storen in the eighth for his 20th career multihomer game. He has 25 home runs this season, the fourth-highest total in the A.L.

“We miss Edgar and we showed him that we miss him,” Cruz joked.

It was the 13th time in team history a Mariners player has had seven RBIs. The team record is eight by Mike Blowers, Mike Cameron and Alvin Davis.

Over his final four at-bats, Cruz came to the plate with 10 runners on base in front of him. The only time in that stretch he didn’t have runners on was when he flied out to open the fifth.

“I don’t remember the last time I had that many runners on base,” Cruz said. “It’s always nice to have that chance and to deliver in those situations.”

Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer and Nori Aoki had two RBIs and scored twice to help the Mariners win their third straight, a streak that began with Wednesday’s walkoff win over the White Sox.

“Hopefully, that was the wake-up call we need,” Cruz said.

Iwakuma (11-6) allowed two runs and four hits.

Unbeaten since June 22 at Detroit, he is 5-0 with a 2.50 ERA in his past five outings and 10-2 in 12 starts since May 20.

“He’s been our most consistent guy all year, there’s no doubt,” M’s manager Scott Servais said.

Wade LeBlanc pitched the final three innings for his first save.

Former Mariners players Michael Saunders and Justin Smoak combined for three home runs against their old team, but it was nowhere near enough for the Blue Jays, who gave up a season-worst 14 runs.

Saunders hit two solo homers, one off Iwakuma in the sixth and another off LeBlanc in the eighth. It was his eighth career multihomer game and third this season.

Saunders, who also connected in Friday’s 2-1 loss, matched his career high with 19.

Smoak hit a two-run drive off LeBlanc in the eighth, his 11th.

Cruz’s first homer came after Dickey (7-11) hit consecutive batters to load the bases in the third.

Dickey left after the first four batters reached safely in the fourth, his shortest start of the season. He gave up six earned runs, matching a season worst, and seven hits.

Dickey has yielded 24 homers this season. Only Kansas City’s Ian Kennedy and Chris Young (26) have allowed more.

“I felt like I executed a pretty good pitch to Cruz and he did a good job of staying with it,” Dickey said.

Seattle widened its lead with a five-run sixth, when the first five batters all got hits off reliever Jesse Chavez.

Cruz batted with the bases loaded for a second time but grounded into a double play. Seager chased Chavez with a homer to center, his 19th.

The decider

Iwakuma has received a decision in 17 of his 20 starts.

Walk this way

Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson walked twice. He leads the A.L. with 67 walks.

Colabello’s suspension over

Blue Jays 1B Chris Colabello has been reinstated from the restricted list after serving an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Colabello was suspended April 22 after the commissioner’s office said he tested positive for a drug sold under the name Turinabol. Colabello was designated off the 25-man Toronto roster Saturday, but was kept on the 40-man roster. He’s expected to be assigned to Triple-A Buffalo.

Trainer’s room

Mariners: Seattle placed SS Ketel Marte (mononucleosis) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Wednesday, and recalled LHP David Rollins from Triple-A Tacoma.

Up next

Mariners: LHP Wade Miley (6-7, 5.36) is 0-5 with a 5.60 ERA in his past five starts.

Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (12-4, 3.43) is 6-0 in seven starts since his most recent loss, June 6 at Detroit. Happ’s next victory will be his career-high 13th.

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