The Blue Jays bats were stifled on Friday night at the Rogers Centre as they dropped their series opener 2-1 against the Seattle Mariners.
Starter Marco Estrada battled through six innings in his first game since coming off the disabled list, allowing just two runs. The right-hander allowed an uncharacteristic seven hits, but found the right pitches at the right times.
After Estrada allowed a run in the first, Michael Saunders picked his starter up with a solo home run in the bottom of the season. It was Saunders’ 17th of the season, putting him within two of his career high of 19.
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Brett Cecil was first on relief and bounced back from a tough outing in Arizona by retiring both batters he faced. Bo Schultz grabbed the final out of the seventh and handed off to Joe Biagini for the eighth, who pitched two innings of scoreless relief.
Seattle starter James Paxton had an excellent start, limiting Toronto to just one run on three hits. The BC native struck out nine and walked just one batter. After rookie Edwin Diaz showed why he’s quickly become one of baseball’s most dominant relievers, Steve Cishek picked up the save fro Seattle.
The Blue Jays put runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth, but Cishek struck out Michael Saunders in an at-bat that included a low second strike that avoided the zone by a comfortable six inches.
Thole started over Russell Martin, who missed the game with a bizarre injury. Martin told reporters that he spent too much time in the sauna on Thursday, causing him to feel light-headed, and he then fell while in the showers which resulted in a sore knee.