SEATTLE (AP) — It took more than 1,000 career games, but Eugenio Suárez finally got to experience the exhilaration of hitting a game-ending home run.
So, how did it feel?
“I just enjoyed the game and like I always say, I keep my energy even. Even if I didn’t do something, I just try to keep my energy and enjoy this game. This game is so fun," Suárez said.
Suárez hit a three-run homer off Sergio Romo in the 11th inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 on Friday night for their season-best sixth straight victory.
Suárez didn’t miss on a 2-1 slider from Romo (0-1) and kept it fair down the left field line. It was his 15th home run of the season and improved Seattle to 43-42, the first time the Mariners have been above .500 since they were 12-11 on May 2.
Seattle has won 14 of its past 17.
“Obviously we’re going really well right now,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “We all know how baseball goes. It's up and it's down and it’s all over the place. But you have to ride the streak and we're in a good one right now.”
Romo threw just four pitches in his brief outing. The veteran was designated for assignment by Seattle late last month before signing with the Blue Jays.
Former Toronto reliever Ryan Borucki (1-0) picked up the win, pitching the 10th and 11th innings without allowing a run. Borucki got out of the 10th thanks to Matt Chapman lining into a double play. In the 11th, Chapman reached third with one out, but Borucki struck out Cavan Biggio and got a fly out from George Springer.
“I was just in a different world, I felt like. And it was just good to really step up,” Borucki said. “I was telling guys I’ve never felt like this in my life, just the joy of just being able to do what I did today.”
Seattle tried to win it in the 10th on J.P. Crawford’s line drive single to left field. Third base coach Manny Acta made the aggressive decision to send Abraham Toro from second, but Lordes Gurriel Jr’s. throw was on target and Toro was easily tagged out.
Dylan Moore had an RBI double in the second inning, and Crawford added an RBI double in the third that scored Julio Rodríguez from first base. Rodríguez nearly homered to start the game, but his drive hit the top of the wall in center field and he was thrown out after stumbling and falling between second and third.
Toronto starter Ross Stripling allowed two runs and seven hits over five innings.
Gurriel had an RBI single in the second inning and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled and scored on Teoscar Hernández’s RBI single in the fifth.
“We got plenty of baseball left. I'm sure this lineup is going to get hot again and we're going to score runs," Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. "But again, credit to our pitching that gave us a chance today."
Seattle starter George Kirby lasted 4 1/3 innings and allowed 10 hits, but the Blue Jays could manage only two runs despite the constant traffic on the bases. Toronto left the bases loaded in fourth inning and left runners at second and third in the fifth.
Toronto ended up with a pair of All-Star Game starters after Guerrero and catcher Alejandro Kirk won the final vote to be starters at their positions for the July 18 game in Los Angeles.
It will be the second All-Star Game appearance for Guerrero, but the first for Kirk, who entered Friday hitting .312 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs.
Guerrero beat out Seattle Ty France for the nod at first base.
Toronto activated RHP Yimi García from the 15-day injured list and optioned RHP Casey Lawrence to Triple-A Buffalo. García had been out since June 22 with a back strain.
Blue Jays: Toronto has not named a starter for Sunday’s series finale, with Montoyo saying he wanted to see how the next two days went before deciding on a starter. He also said there remains a chance the RHP Kevin Gausman (ankle) will be healthy enough to make the start. Gausman was scheduled to start Thursday but was scratched after getting hit on his ankle in his last start.
Mariners: RHP Ken Giles left the game due to tightness in the back of his shoulder with one out in the eighth inning and in the middle of an at-bat. Giles got the first out of the inning, but then called for a trainer after falling behind 3-1 to Santiago Espinal.
Blue Jays: RHP Alek Manoah (9-3, 2.33) looks to rebound from a loss in his last start and strengthen his All-Star worthy resume. Manoah allowed four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings in his last start against Oakland. The four earned runs matched a season-high allowed.
Mariners: LHP Robbie Ray (7-6, 3.62) get to face his former team for the first time. Ray did not travel with the Mariners to Toronto when the teams met in May due to border restrictions related to the COVID-19 vaccine. Ray is 4-1 with a 0.80 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings over his past five starts.
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Tim Booth, The Associated Press