Road Trip: Quintero the Conqueror Helps M's Topple Jays • Latino Sports

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Road Trip: Quintero the Conqueror Helps M’s Topple Jays

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Safeco Field, Seattle- Wednesday afternoon’s contest between the visiting Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners did not run a promotion.

Should it have though, it would have been titled, ‘keep your brooms at the stadium day,’ as thousands of blue clad wearing Toronto fans left their bristles behind at Safeco Field in a bit of a stupor in the aftermath of the Mariners 9-7 come-from-behind victory, that ended the threat of a three-game home sweep to their northern neighbors.

Trailing 7-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Seattle lit up Toronto starter J.A. Happ for four runs tying the game at 7-7, while Mariners’ catcher Humberto Quintero [1-for-3, three RBIs] gave the M’s their first lead of the day, walloping his fourth homer on the season off reliever Aaron Loup’s two-seam fastball into left-field. Toronto’s Emilio Bonifacio drove to the wall but froze at the padding unable to make a play on Quintero’s two-run blast that put the Mariners ahead for good at 9-7.

“I hit it good,” said Quintero on the home run off Happ that gave the Mariners the lead. “When they pitch in, I use my hands [more].”

“Q’s [Quintero] been putting together some huge at-bats,” said interim manager Robby Thompson. “We never hung our heads.”

In a game featuring two teams with near identical records, the Mariners [53-61] went up early 2-0 on a Nick Franklin RBI triple [1st triple of the season] scoring shortstop Brad Miller for a 1-0 lead. Seattle doubled the score when third baseman Kyle Seager hit into a fielders-choice out enabling Franklin to touch home, 2-0 Mariners.

“Just thought I’d be a new person today,” said a newly shaved Franklin who finished 1-for-4 with an RBI and one run scored. “Knew eventually it will work itself out,” said Franklin of his recent struggles at the plate.

The Blue Jays soared right back in the top of the second inning off Mariners’ starter Aaron Harang, placing a five-card on Seattle for a 5-2 advantage.

Toronto’s Josh Thole’s ground-rule double to left-field put the Bluebirds ahead 3-2, as Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie scored. Blue Jays’ second baseman Mark DeRosa made it 4-2 Toronto, reaching home on a Jose Reyes ground-out, while a Bonifacio bunt-single scored Thole from third base to put the Jays ahead 5-2.

“They scored two early, and then we built a nice little lead,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “You expect to win those games…you figure you’re going to win that thing.”

The ballgame appeared out of reach for Seattle after Toronto smacked back-to-back home runs in the top of the third inning.

Encarnacion started the home run hitting contest by blasting his 30th homer of the season, a solo-shot, over the Edgars’ sign and into the second deck for a 6-2 Jays’ lead. Lind duplicated the effort, smashing his 14th home run of the season over the wall in right-field for a 7-2 Toronto lead that knocked Harang out of the game. Just to make it interesting, Blue Jays’ center-fielder Colby Rasmus almost made it three homers in a row, just slicing a pitch foul off reliever Brandon Mauer who came in for Harang.

Harang, who left with a no-decision [5-10] has now had two straight difficult outings, and was saved only by the collective calm of the Mariners’ bullpen which went seven scoreless innings, while the offense stormed back for seven runs to win the game.

“I was feeling fine in the first inning, threw strikes,” said Harang, adding,” Second inning, just missing my pitches, balls fell in, double right down the line…the guys knew things were kinda awkward today. We’ve been playing good teams tough, have to battle through tough times.”

In a strange contest, the Mariners win was best summed up by their powerful fifth inning.

Franklin started for the comeback trail by reaching second on a fielding error by Lawrie, as the ball went right past him with Lawrie’s glove on the ground.  Morales kept the rally going, hitting a 93 mph four-seam fastball off Happ into left center-field by the 376 marker for a ground rule double, scoring Franklin from third, 7-4 Jays.

With no outs in the fifth, Happ walked Michael Morse to load the bases for Mariners’ center-fielder Michael Saunders. Happ’s walk prompted an appearance by Loup out of the bullpen. Loup, who picked up the loss [4-4] could not keep Seattle off of the scoreboard, as Seager scored from third on a fielders-choice RBI by Saunders to make it 7-5 Jays, with Morse becoming the force-out at second base for the first out of the inning.

Mariners’ first baseman Justin Smoak tied the game at 7-7 with a bases clearing two-RBI double [27, 28] off the wall in left center-field as Morales and Saunders both touched home.

“We told ourselves it was early, had to get big hits we need[ed] them,” said Smoak on how the team stayed positive throughout the comeback. “Keep reining it in,” joked Smoak on his double, as he did not know that it was more than just a line drive when he initially hit the dame-tying double. “Can’t let your heart go too crazy or anything. I have to ease up on that.”

Toronto had an excellent opportunity to tie or retake the lead in the top of the sixth inning after Brandon Mauer [who came in relief of Harang in the second inning and picked up his third win of the season] walked Encarnacion to jam the bases full of Jays. With Mariners’ reliever Charlie Furbush in for Mauer, Toronto could not convert, stranding 12 runners over the course of the game, as Lind fanned, and Rasmus hit into a ground-out to end the inning.

The Blue Jays had yet another chance to cause some damage in the top of the seventh inning. With reliever Yoervis Medina in for Furbush,  Saunders completely lost a routine pop-out to center off the bat of DeRosa, as the ball plopped a few feet to his left for a double. DeRosa would be left at third however,  as Reyes grounded out to end the inning.

Danny Farquhar earned his third save of the season, striking out Reyes to end the game after a two-hit single into center by Thole ended his streak of 21 consecutive batters retired, tying him for fourth longest in club history.

“Happy I got him to end the game,” said Farquhar. “It’s the same Danny [out on the field], maybe been getting a few more breaks. Baseball is a game where things need to go your way.”

About Oren Vourman

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