Mariners win 7th straight, best Blue Jays 2-1 against Santana homer

SEATTLE — Carlos Santana provided a push to back up another extraordinary night from the bullpen and kept Seattle on the kind of pitching the Mariners hadn’t seen in nearly two decades.

Santana hit his first home run since being acquired by Seattle with a two-run homer off Toronto starter Alec Manoa to lead the Mariners to a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday night.

Seattle has won its seventh straight and has won 15 of its last 18. The 15-3 streak is the Mariners’ best 18-game stretch from May 16 to June 5, 2003.

“When the fans are around, when every ballpark is loud, when everybody’s hanging around every ballpark, it’s fun to play baseball,” Seattle starter Robbie Ray said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Santana’s homer came in the seventh inning after Seattle had managed just one Manoa hit through the first six. J. P. Crawford led off the seventh with a single and Santana caught a fastball up the middle of the plate for his fifth home run of the season and his biggest hit to date with the Mariners.

“(Manoa) was throwing great. We needed him to make a mistake and we needed to take advantage of it and we did,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.

Santana was acquired in late June from Kansas City for a pair of pitchers.

“The energy is great,” Santana said. “We must continue like this. It’s a long season.”

Ray faced his former team for the first time and went six innings, allowing just three hits and one run during George Springer’s 16th home run of the season before the sixth inning. Ray won the AL Cy Young Award last season with the Blue Jays but did not travel to Toronto when the teams met in May because of border restrictions related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ray struck out six and got out of a big fight in the fifth inning when Toronto loaded the bases with no outs and failed to score. Over his last six starts, Ray has a 0.91 ERA with 11 walks and 46 strikeouts.

“This pitching staff, this bullpen and the way they perform, you have to give them credit as well. They haven’t allowed that many runs in the last 20 games and they’re hot,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “They play good baseball and they had Robbie Ray on the mound today. We have already seen it.”

Matt Bresch (2-3) struck out a pair as part of a perfect seventh inning, including a 13-inning shutout of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. that included nine foul balls.

Diego Castillo, pitching for the third straight day, ran into trouble in the ninth after singles by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk. For his fifth save, Castillo was hit by Teoscar Hernandez and Matt Chapman.

Manoa (9-4) was even for Ray, going 7 1/3 innings, but took the loss. Manoa didn’t allow a hit until Ty France hit a double with one out in the fourth and allowed three basemen to run into trouble in the seventh.

Manoy struck out seven and walked four.

“It’s a pleasure to drive it. I tell you because when you take the mound, he gave you everything he had (and) saved the bullpen for tomorrow,” Montoyo said.

SPRINGER DINGER

All of Toronto’s offense came off one swing by Springer. It was his 23rd career home run against Seattle. He shot 13 of 23 at T-Mobile Park.

LIST TRANSITIONS

Seattle made a flurry of moves to bolster its bullpen, recalling Bresch and Matt Festa from Triple-A Tacoma. RHP Ken Giles was placed on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation and RHP Eric Swanson was placed on paternity.

Seattle also drafted rookie pitcher George Kirby to Tacoma. With Monday off and the All-Star break coming up, it’s easy for Seattle to manage Kirby’s innings. Right-hander Jacob Barnes was optioned from Tacoma to replace Kirby.

Catcher Louis Torrence (shoulder) was also activated from the 10-day IL and C Andrew Knapp was designated for assignment.

Training room

Blue Jays: Toronto manager Charlie Montoya wasn’t ready to name the starter for Sunday’s series finale, but it won’t be RHP Kevin Gausman. Montoyo said Gausman won’t be back in the rotation until Tuesday. Gausman suffered an ankle sprain in his last start and was scratched after Thursday’s scheduled walk.

FURTHER

Blue Jays: Toronto is expected to make it a bullpen day and announce a starter on Sunday.

Sailors: RHP Logan Gilbert (10-3, 2.61) is looking to join Houston’s Justin Verlander as the only hitters in 11 AL games. Gilbert allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings in his last start against San Diego. Gilbert has pitched at least five innings in every start this season.

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