Blue Jays 6, Mariners 3
Blue Jays 6, Mariners 3
Sep. 14, 1997
SEATTLE (AP) _ Randy Johnson was happy. Lou Piniella was not.
``It was like I never missed a start,'' Johnson said after allowing one hit in six innings of his return Saturday night. ``I wasn't expecting to throw like that. I was pleased.''
But Seattle's bullpen blew another one as the Toronto Blue Jays rallied for a 6-3 win over the Mariners. In addition, the Mariners committed three errors that gave the Blue Jays five unearned runs.
``We gave one away tonight,'' said Seattle manager Piniella. ``We didn't catch the ball very well.''
Johnson, who hadn't pitched since Aug. 20 because of finger tendinitis, left with a 3-1 lead after six innings on home runs by Jay Buhner and Mike Blowers.
Returning to the mound before 51,631 fans in the Kingdome, Johnson walked one and struck out eight, increasing his AL-leading strikeout total to 272. Johnson, bidding for his 18th victory, probably has two more starts this season.
``I wasn't as wild as I thought I might be,'' Johnson said. ``I'm just glad to go out there and get back in the groove. You know it's been 25 days since I last threw.''
Toronto manager Cito Gaston said Johnson was back.
``Randy threw the ball well,'' he said. ``He is tough all the time. I'm not sure if he cut loose like he would like to, but he never really needed to.''
Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Griffey hasn't homered in six straight games after getting his 50th last Sunday.
Benito Santiago's sacrifice fly in the ninth inning drove in the go-ahead as Toronto scored three unearned runs in the ninth.
But the Mariners, who have 13 games left, remained 5 1/2 games ahead of second-place Anaheim in the AL West. The Angels lost to Kansas City 3-1 in 13 innings.
In the ninth, Bobby Ayala (10-5), Seattle's fourth pitcher, was victimized by the Mariners' third error. Third baseman Andy Sheets' misplay allowed Joe Carter to get on and Carlos Delgado doubled.
Santiago's sac fly scored Carter and Ayala intentionally walked Shawn Green. Carlos Garcia singled home Delgado and Shannon Stewart's single scored Green.
Kelvim Escobar (3-1) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth for the win.
Johnson left after 77 pitches, and Norm Charlton allowed a one-out double to Tom Evans in the seventh before pinch-hitter Felipe Crespo reached on first baseman Blowers' fielding error. Mike Timlin then gave up a two-run double to Stewart.
Stewart got his three RBIs on two hits against Seattle's bullpen after going 0-for-3 and striking out twice against Johnson. It was the first time he's faced Johnson in his career.
``I had a shot and hit the ball off the end of the bat and fouled it off,'' he said. ``You can't do that with him. You've got to hit those balls when you get them or say `Good night, see you next time.'''
Timlin, acquired from the Blue Jays on July 31, blew his fourth save in five opportunities since coming to Seattle. The Mariners' bullpen has blown 24 saves in 57 chances.
``He's got to start getting the ball down a lot better. I'll tell you that right now,'' Piniella said when asked about Timlin's performance.
Seattle loaded the bases in its half of the eighth, but Escobar struck out pinch-hitter Paul Sorrento looking to end the threat.
With two outs in the sixth and the score tied 1-1, Buhner hit his 35th homer, a two-run shot to right. The homer came after a two-out single by Alex Rodriguez.
Blowers gave Seattle a 1-0 lead in the second when he lined his homer over the center-field fence.
Toronto tied it 1-1 with an unearned run in the fourth. Mariano Duncan reached on an infield single and went to third when Johnson's pickoff throw got by Blowers. Joe Cruz Jr. then hit an RBI groundout.
Blue Jays starter for Omar Daal gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings.
Notes: Johnson lowered his ERA from 2.32 to 2.25. He's second in the AL behind Toronto's Roger Clemens (2.02). ... On Blowers' homer in the second, center fielder lost his glove over the fence attempting to make a leaping catch. ... Paul Quantrill of Toronto has allowed an earned run in just two of his last 22 appearances. ... The Mariners failed for the ninth time this season to go 17 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history. ... Rodriguez has hit in 15 of 18 games since moving to the No. 5 spot in Seattle's lineup.